By Steven Shaff, NAU Media Relations
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – What is the measure of a good basketball player? Senior DeAngelo Jones is best measured by what is not on the stat sheet.
Jones' numbers don't draw your attention – he ranks ninth on the team in both points and rebounds – but he has played more than 20 minutes in each of the last two games and made his first start of the season Saturday against Sacramento State.
"(I try to have an impact) with energy and making plays," said Jones after practice Monday. "Whatever I am doing on the court it has to be positive. Whether it is getting a rebound, pushing the ball or getting someone open with a screen or a pass or making my own shot, that is what I am trying to do."
Jones scored six points in his 2010-11 starting debut and has scored in 16 of 17 games this season. Whether it is a starting role or coming off the bench, he is ready to help the Lumberjacks succeed.
"It feels good," said Jones of his first start. "It is no different. You have to approach it ready to come in and start the game off right. You can't be sloppy. You try to be good at the beginning of the game."
Jones, who started 10 games last season, played for legendary prep coach Mike Bethea at Rainier Beach High School in Seattle, a program that has produced players like Jamaal Crawford, Doug Christie and Nate Robinson. He was an all-league and all-state performer, averaging a team-best 16.2 points as a senior.
Bethea once quoted the famous Measure of a Man quote by Martin Luther King, Jr. and it has had a lasting effect on Jones.
"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I like that quote," said Jones ironically on Martin Luther King Day. "Our coach in high school told us about it. It stuck with me because in high school I ruptured by Achilles tendon my junior year. It talked about the true measure of a man. It is not where you stand in times of comfort but where you stand in discomfort. How are you going to react to things when you are at the bottom? Are you going to give up? Or are you going to push thru and get to the top."
Jones, who has the quote tattooed to his side, continues to push through in basketball and in his life.
He originally signed and played his freshman season at New Mexico State before transferring to Cochise College in Douglas, Ariz., where he played for NAU assistant Jay Collins, who was an assistant on the staff.
Jones earned All-ACCAC first-team honors in 2009, ranking 28th in the country in scoring in the NJCCA with 19.5 points per game scoring average with 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He helped lead the team to a 24-8 record and an appearance in the region final.
"His ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot it has improved," said Collins. "He was a good guy to coach who brings it every day. For us down there, he scored the ball. I am proud of the way he has made transition to being a 20-a-night scorer to a guy that really focuses in on defending, rebounding and playing undersized at the four position. We can put him in at any spot and he will do a good job."
Jones, who has an aunt in Phoenix, signed with NAU and stayed in state in finish out his collegiate career. He had an immediate impact with the Lumberjacks, averaging 8.6 points and 2.9 rebounds last season. He earned Big Sky Player of the Week and was named to the West Coast Classic All-Tournament team after scoring a career-high 28 points with six rebounds an assist and a steal in victory over Santa Clara, hitting 9-of-13 from the field and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line.
But his role on the team is different this season.
"DeAngelo understands it is all about effort," said Head Coach Mike Adras. "When he gives effort things seem to happen out there. It is matter of him trying to make plays. He is working really hard in practice and has been rewarded with more minutes in games."
Jones will join his teammates this weekend on the Northwest road trip to his home state to play Eastern Washington and Oregon to face Portland State on Saturday, where he expects to have a large contingent of family and friends in the stands including his high school coach.
"We should be better in league," said Jones. "We had a good preseason like we wanted. But we did not start off league good but we are starting to get back on track."
Jones, who will get his degree in society in enterprise with emphasis in business in May, has helped the Lumberjacks fight out of the discomfort of the 0-2 start and hopes his true measure continues to show for the Lumberjacks.
Tipoff Thursday against the Eagles is set for 8:05 p.m. The game against the Vikings on Saturday can be seen on the Altitude Network at 6:05 p.m. Both games can be heard on 105.1 FM The Big Talker and www.bigtalkerradio.com.