The run meant a lot to the team’s seniors. Though they willingly follow Jones’ guidance, they finally got their chance to shine without him in the game.
“That was a challenging point of the season,” Sonie said. “We’ve always been the back seat to Tyus, so when he went out it gave us a chance to prove ourselves.”
Most the Eagles have been playing together since sixth grade. They’ve been a part of Jones’ rise to the top of every college coach’s recruiting list. They’ve watched gymnasiums go from mostly empty to overflowing when he’s playing. The long history has preserved the unity.
“It shows character as a team. I praise them for that,” said Jones, who averaged 20.9 points, 7.6 assists and three steals per game this season. “I don’t look at them as my cast. They are my team. … My teammates.”
The egalitarian approach was evident in the Class 4A, Section 3 championship game, a 94-63 rout against Rosemount.
Jones led his team with 19 points, but had eight assists. Four others scored in double figures. After Sonie took a charge, the four others were there to pick him up. Fronk made sure to give Jones a pickup nudge after he missed a dunk. And Tobroxen’s back-to-back three-pointers were followed by Jones yelling, “I see you, boy!”
“They’re just a complete team all around,” Rosemount guard Cole Northwick said. “[Jones] always has someone to look to.”