Jones reels in top conference honor|[02/28/07]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It’s been four years since D.J. Jones led the Vicksburg Gators on their improbable run to a Class 5A state basketball championship.

Since then, all the slick-shooting guard has done is become the best player in the American Southwest Conference.

Mississippi College coach Mike Jones says D.J.’s attitude has helped transform the Choctaws into a power in NCAA Division III.

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&#8220He’s a tough, hard-nosed player who’s a winner,” coach Jones said this morning. In two seasons since D.J. Jones joined the Choctaw, they have compiled an outstanding 54-4 record.

On Tuesday, D.J. was named the ASC Player of the Year after leading the Choctaws to the overall ASC championship in Clinton. By winning the ASC title, MC (25-2) earned an automatic host bid to the Division III Tournament’s South Regional. The four-team regional begins Friday with the Choctaws hosting Occidental College at 8 p.m.

Jones edged out Timothy Broomfield for the ASC Player of the Year award.

Broomfield earned top conference defensive honors, while coach Mike Jones earned the ASC Co-Coach of the Year award.

&#8220We had two players who could’ve won the award because Tim Broomfield is equally as good,” Mike Jones said. &#8220But when you look at his stats, you can see just how important D.J. is to us.

&#8220We always put him on our opponent’s best player. He can score, he can rebound and he makes free throws. He is a total player,” Mike Jones said. &#8220He does all the little things we need him to do.”

The 6-foot, 3-inch Jones plays a combo-guard role for the Choctaws, alternating between point guard and the shooting guard role. So far this season, he is averaging 14.4 points a game and has converted nearly 60 percent of his shots from the field.

Jones is also an outstanding free throw shooter. having made 85 percent from the line. He is also averaging 4.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. Jones’ 29 steals have helped the Choctaws to their highest ranking in school history, at No. 3 on Feb. 27.

After leading the Gators to the Class 5A title, Jones spent the next two seasons at Southwest Community College where he became an All-State selection in his sophomore season.