Prep Basketball: A.L. Brown's Teven Jones to prep school
By Mike London
KANNAPOLIS — Even a berth as a wide receiver in this summer’s East-West All-Star football contest couldn’t sway Teven Jones’ mind.
The recent A.L. Brown graduate likes football — really likes it — but he adores basketball. For Jones, it’s been like having two steady girlfriends for a long time, but in the end, he could only take his favorite to the prom.
“Football or basketball, it was kind of a hard decision, but then again, not really,” Jones said. “Playing in that football all-star game, getting to be friends with guys like (Salisbury quarterback) John Knox, that was a great experience, but my heart is still basketball. Basketball, that’s what I love.”
Jones, who caught his first varsity pass in the 2008 3AA state championship game, ultimately accumulated 69 catches for 1,092 yards and 13 TDs for a run-first program and tacked on a pair of scintillating punt-return TDs his senior year.
But he said farewell to football a few minutes after the East-West. He exchanged phone numbers and hugs with Knox and moved on to the next part of his life.
Jones’ next stop is Fishburne Military School in Waynesboro, Va., where he will play guard on a post-graduate basketball team. The Caissons, as they are known, will lock horns with the Hargraves and Fork Unions of the world.
Jones’ academics are in excellent shape — he aspires to be a dentist once his playing days are over — so opting for prep school is strictly to enhance his basketball career. The 6-foot-1 Jones had several Division II offers, but didn’t sign. He still hopes to play at the Division I level.
At his height, his ticket for finding a place in D-I is to slide out of the combo-guard role he’s had with the Wonders into being a fulltime point. If he proves he can handle the point, there’s a good chance he’ll land a scholarship and he’ll still have four years of eligibility.
“Prep school is going to give Teven an opportunity to work on his point guard skills, and hopefully play at a high level,” Brown coach Shelwyn Klutz explained. “He’s not a bad defender, but with that extra year, he’ll become a better one. He’ll get a little stronger. He’ll get more disciplined. It’s not like he’s not a good kid, but I’ve never met a teenager who couldn’t use more discipline.”
Jones has unusual athletic ability — a 331/3-inch vertical jump, 4.43 speed in the 40 — and good strength. Like most Wonders, he’s stouter than he looks at first glance. He weighs a little over 170 pounds, but he can bench-press more than 200. He’s put in some time in coach Todd Hagler’s weight room.
Another positive for Jones is he’s a smooth, confident shooter with deep range. He averaged 16.8 points as a junior and 21.6 as a senior, when he was the only Wonder who averaged double figures. He was often double-teamed as soon as he touched the ball during his senior season, but his numbers were strong.
“Teven came out unbelievably hot (Jones averaged 29 points in his first four outings after reporting from football), but then teams really started focusing on him defensively and he cooled off a little bit,” Klutz said. “But there’s no question Teven can make open shots. He’s got lots of basketball ability, and he can make a transition to playing on talented teams where he’s not necessarily the first scoring option.”
Jones explained that Fishburne coach Ed Huckaby Jr. spotted him when he attended a showcase for unsigned seniors that was held at Guilford College.
“They fell in love with me, I guess,” Jones said with a laugh. “I did play pretty well up there.”
Jones also played in a summer AAU showcase after the Guilford camp and opened more eyes. Klutz said there were e-mails from Clemson and Virginia, among others, letting Jones know they’d keep an eye on his progress at Fishburne.
That’s serious motivation.
Jones already has been named a team captain for the upcoming season. He reports to Fishburne today. Classes start Aug. 29.
“The basketball players won’t have to do some of the marching and drilling the other cadets do, but we’ll all be getting up really early for roll call, breakfast, study hall and classes,” Jones said.
There will also be some basketball mixed in there, and that’s what he loves.