Though my high school team beat his in the Northern Indiana Conference on our way to a sectional championship I knew that this tall, scrawny guy was going to be good given a few more pounds and some good coaching. Out of the realm of scouting it’s not hard to recognize pure talent and heart and Jarrod Jones showed me that long before we crossed paths again. A few years later at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana he would go on to gain a starting spot proving my early predictions were correct.
Jones fell in love with basketball around the age of five or six playing with his two older brothers and two cousins after many of their driveway battles, having a dad for a coach couldn’t have hurt either. Being the youngest in the pack he was beat up on some on the court but looking back he knows it has made him better.
Excelling through middle school Jones entered high school knowing the odds were stacked against him.
“I came from Michigan City and we never had a winning program and we didn’t get much exposure the entire time I was there. I just so happened to be playing in East Chicago when the Nike AAU team spotted me and that’s where I got my exposure. If I would not have worked hard or played my best that one game and given 110 percent, man, who knows.”
Receiving his first scholarship offer in 10th grade he realized that if he kept working hard good things would come. “You never know who is in the crowd watching you and what can happen if you just stay focused and have faith.” Though in every personal story of triumph one must endure a set back.
For Jones, his appeared in the form of a broken leg his junior year of high school.
Some of the big schools that were once knocking down the doors to recruit him began knocking a little less after his injury. All possibly afraid he couldn’t bounce back in time except for Ball State University.
Coming into a smaller program in the MAC as a freshman Jarrod was able to immediately play with great players and learn the ends and outs. No stranger to LTG, Anthony Newell was a great role model for Jones. “He’s taught me about resilience and has been a huge impact on and off the court. His will power and beliefs help me be a better person.” Jones went on to earn freshman player of the year in the Mid American Conference as well as other notable career records during his tenure with the Cardinals.
In the early days when asked by teachers what he wanted to do playing professional basketball was always the first and only answer, he never put it in his mind to develop a plan B so sacrifice became the name of the game. Jones traded in his summers of fun with friends for conditioning and training regimens, something that was hard to do with social media platforms reminding him of everything he was missing out on.
It all became worth it after his first professional contract was signed. Beginning one year ago after going undrafted, playing in the NBA Summer League for the Sacramento Kings he went on to sign a contract that landed him in Kyiv (Kiev), Ukraine. A very stressful time during his first year dealing with coaches and playing for the very last team in the league after they didn’t make the playoff he cut his losses and moved on to Hungary. After arriving Jones played in the Hungarian Cup and earned MVP in the tournament coming off the bench to end his first season. Heading into the playoffs in the number one spot the team went on to win the playoffs earning their second championship of the season.
Unsure of what the future holds or where he will be playing next season Jarrod is consistently motivated by his family and hopes to soon be able to play in the states so that they are able to come see him play opposed to watching on the internet.
“I am looking at going overseas as an opportunity to get better, work harder, and mature and when I’m ready the NBA will find me. I [am] working towards making a better future for myself instead of looking back on the what if’s.”
Written by Sierra Green
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