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Park hoops star Joe Jones heading to prep school in Canada

It's about getting better and testing himself.

That's the biggest reason Park basketball star Joe Jones is transferring to a prep school in Canada after three seasons of helping the Pioneers experience nothing but success on the court.

The 6-foot-10 Jones is taking his talents to Orangeville Prep, which is part of the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy in Mono, Ont. According to his father, Joe Sr., Jones is receiving a scholarship to attend the school roughly two hours away from the 7-1-6.

"I just want to get better," said Jones, who averaged 15 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game last season, earning second team All-Western New York honors. "I think (going to prep school) will help me with my goals in life."

Jones, who is the younger half brother of former NBA No. 1 pick Greg Oden, wants to play at the next levels – collegiately and professionally. The lad with a 7-foot-3 wingspan has 14 Division I offers.

In three seasons at Park, he developed from intimidating rim protector and rebounder to offensive threat. He's also adept at recognizing and passing out of the double team.

Jones helped Park win the Federation Class B title as overall champions of New York State in 2015. He also helped the Pioneers reach the Manhattan Cup Class A Division final in 2016 and the Cup semifinal last season.

Orangeville Prep is one of two teams fielded by the Athlete Institute Basketball Academy, which happens to be the name of the academy's other squad. The Academy has sent 22 individuals to Division I programs, with two reaching the NBA since its founding in 2010.

Jones isn't the first Western New Yorker to attend the Academy. Former Canisius High School student and current Syracuse University-bound guard Howard Washington played last season with the Athlete Institute team. Both teams play in the same prep league.

While improvement is Jones' main motivation for transferring, his father said the fact Park has yet to hire a coach to replace the departed Mike Battaglia also played a role in the decision to transfer.

"Everything about Park we always loved," Jones Sr. said. "We loved the school more than the athletics."

Perhaps that's why Jones, who entertained thoughts of going the prep route last year, stayed at Park for his junior season.

"I feel I'm more prepared (to go) now," Jones said.

Park’s Joe Jones grabs a rebound against St. Francis last season. (Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News)

Here's the Tweet from Orangeville Prep:

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