It is a foregone conclusion that Leslie Jones wants what’s best for her son, Memphis Booker T. Washington basketball standout Ethan Andrew Jones.
Every so often, in fact, she makes it a point to remind him of such.
In all likelihood, she doesn’t plan to let up anytime soon.
“I need him to get an education because I never got that far,” Leslie Jones told Sports Journalist Andre Johnson on Monday. “And I would be proud to watch him graduate from college.”
As Ethan Jones continues what has been a brutally hectic, but productive summer — particularly on the AAU hoops circuit — his mother yet again is reminding him that she’s undoubtedly his grandest cheerleader.
Fortunately for the 18-year-old rising senior, his mother’s unyielding support couldn’t have come at a better time.
For starters, Ethan Jones has yet to generate any official college offers, although while in Orlando, Florida this week for the AAU Nationals, that could all change.
Add to the fact that the 6-foot-6 swingman enjoyed a remarkable junior season in which he helped propel perennial power BTW to the TSSAA Class A state championship game, and it’s no wonder the possibility exists that Ethan Jones could very well garner interests from college scouts and recruiters in the foreseeable future.
“I believe I played the perfect games (all season long) for a big man all around,” said Ethan Jones, assessing his play this past season.
Still, arguably the biggest mystery is whether college scout will at some take notice his overall body of work on the court, most notably his ability to run the floor for a big man, as well as his keen ability to rebound on both ends of the floor and continue to have an effective presence in the post.
By and large, these are just the key mechanics about which Ethan Jones is determined to upgrade this offseason.
After all, he’s months away from the start of his senior prep season, meaning there is no time to let up.
“I am not a regular big man because I can shoot and push the ball down the court,” said Ethan Jones, sounding like the assertive, poised student athlete for which he is widely known. “I work out every day.”
To his credit, it is because of his efficient workouts and conditioning sessions, coupled with his lofty expectations of progressing that he figures to make a solid case that he possess the skills to plat at the collegiate level.
Ethan Jones, who helped BTW to a 25-6 finish this past season, is the grandson of Southern Heritage Classic founder Fred Jones.
“(He’s been playing basketball) since he was about nine years old,” Leslie Jones said. “He played for a summer league. But I wasn’t really surprised because of how tall he was and how he loved to play with his cousins. When I watched him play in the State Championship (last season), it was pure pandemonium. I tend to yell a lot…as much as I love watching them be victorious in close games but, at the same time, it is utterly nerve wrecking.”
As he readies for what figures to be a breakthrough senior campaign for the Antonio Harris-coached Warriors team that is expected to vie for a state crown, Leslie Jones says she’s confident her son will acquire the necessary exposure to lure the attention of college colleges.
“He has always been overlooked and some may have doubted his commitment to the game,” Leslie Jones said. “He is a kid that takes directions well and also takes constructive criticism when he knows it will benefit him in the long run.”
Not to mention, catapult him to his long-awaited dream of dressing out in a college uniform.
“Because basketball is what I like to do,” said Ethan Jones, when asked why is playing college basketball a dream of his. “And I want to play college basketball so I can pursue my dream to make it to the NBA.”
As far as his mother is concerned, amongst the observations about which he instills in her son is to keep his focus on education first and playing professionally a distant second.
“I tell his (team) mates that you can use basketball to advance you to the next level and not necessarily the NBA,” Leslie Jones said. “You have to think long term.”
Every so often, in fact, she makes it a point to remind her beloved son of such.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have a child or team that is seeking exposure and would like an in-depth sports news story, call Reporter Andre Johnson at 901-690-6587 or Facebook message him for details under “Andre T. Johnson.”
Andre Johnson is a senior writer for MemphiSport. A 2000 graduate of the University of Memphis School of Journalism, Johnson covers the NBA Southwest Division from Dallas, Texas. To reach Johnson, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, follow him on Twitter @AJ_Journalist.