Circumstances often dictate what choices people make or how they respond to what life throws at them. In the basketball world, you can see it every day in how players respond to what they have been challenged with. Players like Velton Jones see the challenges on and off the court, and they look to rise above them. Over the past 4 seasons, Jones has helped the small school in Western Pennsylvania to 91 wins and 3 postseason appearances, and he is grateful for what he was able to get from this challenge.
“My time at Robert Morris definitely helped me improve my leadership abilities,” said Jones. “I was also able to improve my shooting, and just my overall understanding of the game. Coach (Andy) Toole got in the gym with me and worked through everything.”
While Jones’ game continued to develop through his four years at Robert Morris, it would turn out that his one chance at the NCAA Tournament would come early on, during his freshman season. “It was hard and disappointing to make it and then lose, but I learned a lot from the experiences,” said Jones. “You can’t be too overwhelmed by the experience. You’ve got to be humble.”
Jones would help lead Robert Morris to two other post-season trips, including the NIT this past season. The Colonials were given a golden, and unusual, opportunity, with a first round game against defending National Champion Kentucky, at home. In one of college basketball’s big moments of 2012-2103, the Colonials beat the Wildcats 59-57.
“It was incredible to see all of the hard work from the past four years pay off,” said Jones. “I don’t think Robert Morris got the credit it deserved over that time. The win over Kentucky catapulted us into the national spotlight. It was an amazing feeling.”
Jones is still in school finishing up his senior year, but he is anxious to get working on the next step of his career, and showing teams what he can add to their roster. “I think my leadership and character are the most important parts of my game,” explained Jones. “My toughness is important out on the court, and I have really learned a lot about the game.”
Even finishing up his four years of college, Jones realizes his game isn’t complete yet, and he knows exactly what he wants to work on. “I need to become a more consistent shooter, and be able to knock down my jumper with confidence,” said Jones. “I also want to work on getting to and finish at the rim and looking to get to the free throw line more often.”
Jones can already envision what he can bring to a team at the next level right away. “I am a great leader and locker room guy,” Jones explained. “I can bring energy to the team. I love to work hard and love being in the gym.”
All of this is just the next step in Jones’ journey and he feels he has a lot to offer. “I’ve seen a lot of things and been through a lot of adversity,” said Jones. “My father died of cancer and my mother has it now. I am willing to do anything I can to make this dream come true for my family.”
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