Jan. 8, 2011

by Rachel Horton '13

Although he faced struggles adjusting during the 2009-2010 season, Carl Jones continues to develop. For this sophomore, hard work and dedication will be key this season. From the classroom to the court, Jones stays devoted, not missing any classes or practices. Whether it's working on his defensive game during the offseason, shooting for hours by himself, or engaging in dribbling drills alone, Jones continues to stay committed - and it's paying off.

"Things got better from last year; last year was a lot harder," said Jones, "I adjusted to the school part and also the basketball part, so now things are a lot easier."

Hard work and improvements are leading him to be engaged in more responsibilities on the court, and he feels as though the Hawks depend on him. But Jones has been used to this throughout his entire high school career.

During his career at Garfield Heights High School, Jones averaged 25 points, four rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. In 2009, he was named the Northern Ohio Player of the Year and was an All-Ohio First Team selection. As a junior, Jones was the conference player of the year and earned All-Ohio second team honors.

His father, Carl, helped him with accomplishing many goals throughout high school, and is the one who got him into the sport.

"When I was little, my dad bought me a hoop for Christmas and I was playing with it one day and he said I knew what I was doing," said Jones. "Ever since, he had been putting me in little leagues." Up until high school, he and his father worked on drills together, which helped lead Jones to where he is now as a Hawk.

Last season, Jones played in all 31 contests, averaging 9.6 points per game and hitting double figures 13 times. He was named the Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week on Nov. 22, averaging 17.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in victories over Boston College and Holy Cross, but Jones wanted more and has been working hard to get there.

He feels like a better all-around player, improving all facets of his game, but especially since his defense has improved, leading to his 16 steals this season, second-most on the squad. Jones is the leading scorer for the Hawks, averaging 17.4 points per game, an increase of nearly eight points over last season.

He works hard to continue to be at the top. How does he do that?

"Shoot," he said. "Just shoot, shoot, shoot." Shooting by himself regularly is something that he enjoys doing in order to continue getting better.

Not only has he improved his shooting, Jones has also changed the way he plays the game altogether. He works hard and stays focused during practice to make sure that he is at the top of his game, along with working on his ballhandling skills on his own. Asking Saint Joseph's head coach Phil Martelli what more he can do to improve gave Jones helpful insight to become a better all-around player as opposed to just being a scorer.

Looking for his own shot right away is not the case anymore for this Hawk. Instead, Jones helps his team by being more of a point guard rather than a shooting guard. He is passing more and always looking for the open man first. Jones particularly enjoys playing with freshman Langston Galloway.

"I think that he always can knock down open shots," said Jones, knowing he can depend on Galloway.

Galloway, along with Ronald Roberts, Jr., and Patrick Swilling, Jr., have contributed greatly as freshmen during the early parts of the 2010-2011 season. Jones likes playing with each, and how this year is new and different for him. He also wants the younger players to look up to him, so he works hard to set a good example for them. The Hawks may be a young team, but that doesn't affect Jones.

"We all go out there to perform," he said. Age does not matter. With this new team, Jones hopes that the Hawks will finish well and is confident they will once everyone has found their confidence. His goal for the team is to make it to the Atlantic 10 tournament. For next season, he hopes that the Hawks will be ranked, and he plans to continue working much harder in order to reach those goals as the team gets older.

The long-term goal that Jones has for himself is to make it to the NBA, which is why Tu Holloway from Xavier is his biggest competitor. Holloway is an extremely talented player who is expected to further his career in the NBA. Jones looks forward to playing against him on February 16th, 2011 on his home court in Hagan Arena.

Carl Jones enjoys being a Hawk and playing for head coach Phil Martelli. By continuing to work hard he hopes to reach his goals, both for this season and for the future. He looks forward to the rest of the 2010-2011 season and, as his teammates grow closer, the years beyond.