DeMatha Coach Jones Wins Gold With USA

Basketball mentor was assistant on American squad that took first place in Mexico.

Mike Jones, the varsity basketball coach at  played pro hoops in Portugal, Hong Kong, Finland and the Dominican Republic after his college career at Old Dominion in Virginia.

Last month he made a basketball trip to Mexico and this time the jaunt took on added meaning.

Ready to begin his tenth year at DeMatha, Jones was an assistant coach on the U-16 United States boys basketball team that played in the FIBA Americas U16 tournament last month.

"It was obviously a great experience," Jones said. "The whole U.S. basketball is so first-class. I have played basketball around the world, with and against some very good players. This could not compare to anything I have done."

Jones got a call from USA basketball last year while the men's senior national team was taking part in the world championships in Turkey.

He was asked to be an assistant this summer under head coach Don Showalter, a prep coach in Iowa.

"He is one of the best coaches in the country," said Jones, who has known Showalter for nearly 10 years since they have attended summer camps in the past.

The experience in Mexico was even sweeter because the American team beat Argentina, 104-64, to win the gold medal on June 25 as tournament Most Valuable Player Jabari Parker of Chicago helped lead the way.

"That was awesome," Jones said. "I have told anyone that will listen that having a gold medal around your neck while listening to the national anthem ... every athlete should experience that."

"I don't know if I have been around a team that was so dominant," Jones said of the USA team. "They played at a break-neck pace. It gave me a good sense of when you play for your country things are magnified."

Jones was with the team for training camp in Colorado for 10 days before the team flew to Mexico. After winning the gold medal the team flew back to Houston before going their separate ways.

BeeJay Anya, a rising junior post player at DeMatha, is part of the 27-person U.S. U-16 program but was not among the 12 players on the roster in Mexico, Jones said.

Jones got back to Maryland on June 26 and the next day began the first of five weeks of summer basketball camps at DeMatha High.

International travel is nothing new for Jones. While playing pro hoops overseas he went with teams to the Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, France, Estonia, Canada, Bermuda and several other countries.

His college career at ODU of the Colonial Athletic Association ended in 1995 and he played pro ball until 1998.

DeMatha hoop notes: Hall of Fame coach Morgan Wootten, whom Jones replaced nearly 10 years ago, will be honored on July 27 during "Lunch with the Legends" hosted by WTEM-AM 980 at Morton's: The Steakhouse in Washington, D.C. beginning at 11:30 a.m.

For more information go to www.espn980.com. Wootten turned 80 in April.

Mark G July 13, 2011 at 02:03 PM
My wife and I saw a number of DeMatha games during the 2010-11 season. It was an up-and-down year for the Stags basketball team. They played an extremely tough schedule, facing some of the best High School teams in the country including the eventual #1 HS team in the nation St .Anthony’s of Jersey City, NJ. The Stags lost to St. Anthony’s (badly) and that undoubtedly contributed to their somewhat erratic play during the season. It should be noted that one of the Stags’ best players in 2009-10, Quinn Cook, elected not to attend DeMatha for his senior year. Quinn had a great year for Oak Hill (another legendary basketball program) and will attend Duke next year. Despite the bumpy ride, it was an exciting year for DeMatha. The Stags wound up on a positive note winning the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) tournament, then going on to win the City Title game against Roosevelt and finally winning the prestigious year-end Alhambra Tournament in Frostburg, beating some very good teams. As a basketball fan, I feel fortunate to live within a short walk of the DeMatha gym (actually their spacious new facility is a far cry from the original crowded, steamy gym, though perhaps not as intimate). Not only is it a chance to see some superb basketball but it's also a chance to observe the maturation of some very talented and serious young men. We are continually impressed by the support the families of these young athletes provide. Congratulations to Mike Jones!


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