July 18, 2014

Keeping up with the Jones

Kevin McCarthy

When you are the co-most valuable player of your league in basketball, also a first team linebacker as well as a tight end plus a pitcher/first baseman in baseball, the odds are sports will be in your future in some way, shape or form. If Wilcox High's Julian Jones has his way, he just may pull off being a multi-sports collegian.

In hoops, Wilcox finished 22-5 overall, 11-1 and winners of the El Camino League. A 2016 prospect, the 6-foot-2 Jones was a primary reason for such a strong season.

Asked what he brings to the court, Jones explained, “A strong work ethic. I handle the ball and rebound well, shoot the three good and attack the basket good.”

Chris McSwain, founder of the Top Flight Elite Basketball program in which Jones plays, offered this: “One of the best qualities Julian possess is his leadership. He backs it up with his work ethic on and off the court. He also challenges himself and teammates to get the most out of their abilities. When he talks, everyone listens. Julian is also a true winner in every sense of the word. These qualities are going to take him a long way in whatever sport he decides to play at the next level. He is a special kid and it has been an honor watching him flourish over the last five years in our program.”

McSwain added: “I see Julian as a combo guard at the next level. His size is a big problem for smaller guards and he very explosive for his size. Julian is a lock down defender and takes on the challenge of guarding the best player on the opposing team. This July will be big for him to see where he compares to some of the other top guards in the 2016 class.”

With Top Flight Elite, Jones describes his role this way: “I'm a facilitator but also take over the games near the end.” With Wilcox, it's a bit different as “I'm more of a scorer because that is what's needed and I also take over at the end of games.”

Jones recalls his initial feelings as a freshman playing varsity: “In my first game, the ball was in my hand and it struck me that this is the real thing. I kept telling myself that the opponents lace up their shoes just like me and that's it's not about age but ability.”

As for particular influences, “it's my Dad and my brother. My Dad played played with the Lions, then London Monarchs in 1991-92 and then eight years in Arena Football League. My brother plays football at Foothill College. They push me, work me out and are always there for me.”

It will be a tough decision for Jones come time to decide about what to take on at the next level because “how I think of it is I love all the sports equally.”

He currently weighs in at 185 pounds so either greater weight or a position shift will be necessary collegiately.

On the diamond, “My baseball coaches tell me I can do something with my pitching ability.”

Whatever the decision is for Jones, he already knows he wants to major in kinesiology. “I want to be a trainer for a big college or in the NBA or NFL and I also would love to go into coaching someday.”

Jones sees good days ahead for Wilcox High hoops.

“We'll have a strong team but a young one with a lot of guys having a high caliber of basketball skills.” 6-foot-5 teammate Jase Wickliffe, a fellow 2016 talent, is among them.