The time has come for James Jones to lead his team. The Hurricane men’s basketball team has five fresh faces on an undersized roster that many say can’t compete in the Big East this year. Jones must lead his team through a tough schedule and a gaggle of critics that can’t find many good things to say about this year’s team.
The basketball team no longer has John Salmons’ experienced leadership, Elton Tyler’s presence in the paint, or Marcus Barnes’ ability to bring the ball down the court and toss up three point shots. Although Jones will not have to take over all of these responsibilities, his team will look to him for his experience and undying determination.
“I just go out and play my game and hopefully people take that as leadership, and if they don’t then something’s wrong with them,” Jones said. ” I’ve been in the battles for the last three years so I have that experience.”
Gregg Dovel of ESPN.com started off his preview of the Hurricanes season by saying, “How can we say this delicately? Miami probably won’t be very good this season.”
But don’t tell that to Jones. After coming off of the bench his freshman year and starting in every game the last two years, Jones must now step up and have an even bigger impact if he hopes to prove the team’s critics wrong.
So does Jones have what it takes to lead this team? The smart money says don’t bet against James Jones. Jones has more determination than a pack of ravenous wolfs chasing their first meal in weeks. He will not back down from a challenge.
The fact that Jones stands at 6-8 yet still has a silky smooth jumper makes him a versatile player who can score from all points on the court.
Jones will try to improve on his impressive numbers from last season when he led the team with 6.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game. He also finished third in scoring with 12.8 points per game. For the ‘Canes to compete, Jones will have to score more than he did last year and try to get the rest of the team more involved.
Jones already showed in the first two exhibition games that he has improved his skills in the off-season. He led the team in scoring in both games with 19 points in 26 minutes against the Southeast Atlanta All-Stars and 27 points in 34 minutes against Global Sports.
If Jones keeps up the solid play through the rest of the season, NBA scouts should be knocking at his door soon enough.
Growing up in Miami, Jones wanted to stay close to home after graduating from high school.
“I’ve been here all my life, and my family is a big driving force behind my success, so when I had the opportunity to stay home I decided that was the best fit,” Jones said.
Jones’ love for his family keeps him motivated on his journey through Miami.
He sights his mom as being the greatest influence in his life. After he graduates from Miami he will take good care of his mother whether by playing basketball or using his degree in financing. If Jones has his say, he will do it by playing basketball.
“I want to play in the NBA,” Jones said, quickly realizing he had made a mistake. “I will play in the NBA,” he said with determination in his voice.
You can reach Nate Johnson at NPJ44@aol.com.