05/18/04 — GHS' Jones chooses NAIA college

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GHS' Jones chooses NAIA college

By David Williams
Published in Sports on May 18, 2004 1:56 PM

Goldsboro High School's Chris Jones can relate to the flat basketball on the shelf of coach Randy Jordan's office.

"When he was a freshman, he would come in here and ask me why I keep that flat ball," Jordan said. "I told him it was to remind everyone of a student-athlete that doesn't fill himself up with an education. He ends up flat as that ball and of no use to anyone."

Jones got the message -- but not immediately. It took him a few seasons of getting into Jordan's system and becoming accustomed to Jordan's style of coaching until he began to understand how his part of the team concept would help the Cougars win.

Now about to graduate from Goldsboro, Jones is about to taste a reward all his own.

Jones signed a letter of intent to attend Warren Wilson College in Asheville, an NAIA school and a member of the National Small College Athletic Association. The Owls are going through a rebuilding period and coach David Vincent is confident that Jones can bring a new dimension to the program.

There are a lot of transfers in that league from Division I mid-majors and Division IIs," Jordan said. "It's a tough league with a lot of good players."

"He's a great kid," said Vincent. "He's a hard worker and he's very intelligent. He knows the game of basketball."

Vincent, who has been at Warren Wilson for two seasons, said he is now starting to get the type of player to fit into his scheme -- press, trap on defense, rebound and run an uptempo game. He said Jones would play guard, but he would also rotate under the basket and post up the big players.

"I like a guard that can post up," Vincent said. "He'll get in down low and bang with the big guys."

The son of Michael and Patricia Smith of Goldsboro, Jones visited the campus and liked what he saw, choosing Warren Wilson over Methodist, North Carolina Wesleyan and Chowan.

"I liked the campus -- it's diverse," Jones said. "It will help me grow socially and become more diverse."

Jones plans to major in small business management and entreprenuership, hoping to become involved in real estate or in the business field.

Jones, who had been playing small forward at Goldsboro, changed up last year and moved to the outside.

"Chris had always played forward," Jordan said. "I told him with the height we had coming back, he had to move to wing or guard."

"I went to the Y and worked on my ball-handling and by jump shooting," Jones said.

He came into the season ready to handle the ball, shoot the deep shot, or do anything else asked of him,

"I was impressed that he had done more than I thought he would," Jordan said.

Jones averaged 6.4 points per game and 4.2 rebounds a game last season. He shot 75 percent from the free-throw line, 40 percent form the field and 30 percent from beyond the 3-point line.

Jones said the move outside helped him get ready for college ball.

"I knew at the next level I would move out," he said. "Now I know how to play there."

Jones was a quiet leader for the Cougars. He said he liked his low-key approach, and how his teammates responded to him.

"Chris was really that quiet leader for us," said Jordan. "He's a good example -- he's not an NBA talent, but he knows that basketball can help him to a good life and take care of his family.

"He's really an example of the kind of student-athletes we have at Goldsboro. Work hard, improve academically and set a goal that you can reach."

"Face the odds," Jones said. "Use basketball. Don't let it use you."