Phelps selected to play in ABA’s all-star game

Published 1:00 am Saturday, April 5, 2014

When he signed on with the Jackson Showboats, Jonathan Phelps says the speed of professional basketball caught him a bit off-guard.

Phelps, though, has always been a quick player and learner on the court.

The former Vicksburg High star averaged 33.5 points per game in his first season of pro ball. He’s capped off the strong season by being selected to play in the American Basketball Association All-Star Game April 19 at Avila University in Kansas City, Mo.

Jonathan Phelps

Jonathan Phelps

The ABA is a loose confederation of nearly 100 teams spread nationwide. To be considered one of the best from such a large talent pool was an honor, Phelps said.

“I was very happy that I made it. I didn’t know it was going to take off like it did,” Phelps said. “I feel like I played well, but I could’ve been better. I made the transition, but I could’ve been better.”

As it was, Phelps was plenty good.

The 6-footer ranked eighth in the ABA in scoring. He also averaged six rebounds, four assists and two steals per game. He was among the 12 players picked for the East All-Star team.

“The small town kid from Vicksburg is in elite status now,” Showboats general manager Grant Worsley said.

Phelps said he was looking forward to seeing how he stacks up against some of the best players in the country.

The ABA is a semi-pro league where players make a couple hundred dollars a game, but does include a number of former college basketball stars from around the country.

“That’s what I’m most anxious about, is playing against players from other states. I love that,” Phelps said.

Phelps might also play against players from other countries some day. His success in the ABA has drawn the attention of teams from professional leagues overseas. He said he’s had contact with teams in France and Italy recently, but is still weighing his options.

“I don’t want to rush into something, then go over there and be stranded. I want to make sure it’s right,” Phelps said.

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured sports reporters in the paper's 137-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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