Monday, November 20, 2017
Sports

Basketball guard excels in fresh start at Pasco-Hernando Community College

RECOMMENDED READING


NEW PORT RICHEY — Ja'mil Jones' college basketball career has been far from typical.

The 6-foot, left-handed guard first applied his skills with Francis Marion University in his native South Carolina where he played a red-shirt season, but the death of his father from complications of diabetes, which included a heart attack, stroke and a pair of brain surgeries, quickly derailed his career there.

"When my father died, I went through a little adversity, and that's when I feel my relationship with God got a lot stronger," Jones said. "It was a hard process, but that was a lesson in 'he gives and takes.' Luckily, I've always had the opportunity since I was 4 years old to get between those four lines and focus just on basketball, which helped me get through that."

Basketball wasn't his only priority, however. As he struggled to deal with the loss of his father and the pressures of student athlete life, Jones' grades slipped, leading him to seek out a fresh start at a junior college. He would find it at Pasco-Hernando Community College in New Port Richey.

"I was recruited by a former coach here and since coming the environment has been really good for me," Jones said. "I've kind of realized that it's not just about me being an athlete. I have to be a student athlete, and student comes first. I'm enjoying my basketball here, and I think this team has a really good chemistry."

Jones is a versatile player who can play either guard position on the basketball court. PHCC head coach James Johnson thinks his quick-footed, smooth-shooting guard who can run the offense with efficiency will be missed most after his sophomore season for his leadership than anything else.

"He came here, and after everything he'd been through had to sit out for a lot of his freshman year which is challenging for a guy of his caliber," Johnson said. "He handled it well and really got his focus back academically and has been a great part of this team. This year we have a young team; he's one of just three sophomores and he's leading these guys both on and off the court. Now he has some teams looking at him so that he can go on from here."

The time on PHCC's bench was a lesson in making the most of the situation for Jones. Instead of stewing over his lack of playing time, Jones refocused on and off the court, learning from the mistakes and successes of the players in front of him to propel him to his current status as a team captain.

"I spent a lot of time watching our point guard last year, Alvin Satram, and saw the way he was a leader at all times," Jones said. "It was a lesson that I was able to take into this year because I just sort of naturally fell into a leadership role with this team, and now I actually prefer to play point guard because I want the ball in my hands and the ability to make plays or decisions in the game, to get my teammates involved and to take charge of the floor."

Jones lives with fellow out-of-state transplant, power forward Larry Rivers from Syracuse, N.Y. The two met while being recruited and hit if off immediately. Texting back and forth over the summer before moving to PHCC and eventually becoming roommates, the pair of sophomores have a relationship that has also bred success on the court as they are the second and third leading scorers on the team.

"He's the floor general, and he knows how to reward us big men for our hard work," Rivers says of Jones. "He can score, but his ability to pass is something I haven't had in a guard before. We get along on and off the court, he's like a brother for me. We just clicked since day one."

Note: Jones is averaging 16 points and 5.5 assists per game for the Conquistadors who are 5-12 this season having endured an injury riddled rough start. In January, however, the team has recovered, winning five of its last six games heading into Saturday's matchup with Trinity College.

Comments
Flames ride hot Gaudreau, beat Capitals

Flames ride hot Gaudreau, beat Capitals

WASHINGTON — Johnny Gaudreau would rather talk about anything other than his offensive production. He’s just making it impossible to avoid. Gaudreau had a goal and an assist to extend his career-best point streak to 10 games and lead the Flames to a ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Cavs roll over Pistons, close in on Central lead

Cavs roll over Pistons, close in on Central lead

DETROIT — An emphatic win over a first-place opponent had LeBron James and the Cavaliers talking confidently again. "We haven’t had a win like that in a very long time," James said. "That’s what happens when we don’t let up." James scored 16 of his 1...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Tuesday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYBoxingWelterweights: Alexander vs. Castillo7:30 p.m.FS1College basketballMaui Invitational semifinal1:30 p.m.ESPNLegends Classic third-place game3:30 p.m.ESPNUMaui Invitational consolation game4 p.m.ESPN2Legends Classic final6 p.m.ESPN2George Ma...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Florida A&M football coach Alex Wood resigns

TALLAHASSEE — Alex Wood resigned as Florida A&M football coach Monday, two days after the Rattlers completed their season. Athletic director Milton Overton Jr. said offensive line coach Edwin Pata, a former FSU tight end, will serve as interim coach....
Updated: 2 hours ago
Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

Rays agonize over which prospects to protect on 40-man roster

ST. PETERSBURG — That the Rays went right up to Monday’s 8 p.m. deadline in deciding to add seven players to the 40-man roster, and that a couple they left off seem to be potential Rule 5 draft losses, was apparently a good thing."There’s always some...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

Bucs journal: Dirk Koetter says Doug Martin’s not at fault for struggling running game

TAMPA — RB Doug Martin had just 38 yards on 19 carries in Sunday’s win against the Dolphins, but coach Dirk Koetter said his team’s struggles running the ball shouldn’t go squarely on his running back."In my opinion, he is not the reason we’re not mo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shot winners: Nick Ferrini and Kellyn Trowse

HomeTeam Hot Shots Nick Ferrini, MitchellOn Monday, Ferrini embarked on a five-day cruise with 30 family members. "Parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, cousins, you name it," he said. Destinations during the trip include Key West, The Bahamas and a...
Updated: 2 hours ago
UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

UF has little to say after meeting with Kelly

GAINESVILLE — At last, there’s some actual smoke to the Chip Kelly-Florida rumors.The Gators sent a group — including president Kent Fuchs and athletic director Scott Stricklin — to New Hampshire on Sunday to talk with the former Oregon coach about U...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Reeling Broncos fire offensive coordinator

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos fired offensive coordinator Mike McCoy on Monday and replaced him with quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave. Klint Kubiak will take over as QBs coach while Musgrave calls plays for the final six weeks of a soured season tha...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Sports in brief

Sports in brief

OBITUARYnovotna, known for endearing embrace, dies at 49PRAGUE — Jana Novotna, a tennis Hall of Famer who sobbed on the shoulder of a member of the British royal family after a heartbreaking loss in a Wimbledon final, died Sunday at the age of 49. Th...
Updated: 2 hours ago