Velton Jones: leader on and off the court

Matt Polaski

Nick Buzzelli, Staff Writer

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Velton Jones has a passion for basketball and is one of the most competitive players to ever take the court for Robert Morris. Playing on a team consisting of only one senior and eight underclassmen, Jones has stepped up his game this season, averaging nearly 17-points per contest and has become one of RMU’s team leaders both on the hardwood and in the locker room.

“He brings effort every day and is the reason why we have great practices,” freshman Lucky Jones said of the team’s leader. “He’s vocal and is a big leader and we just know him to go after every ball, get every steal, every rebound, and every stop.”

The native of Philadelphia started his career at RMU during the 2008-2009 campaign but was redshirted his first year. The next season, Velton Jones appeared in all 35 games and led the squad in assists and steals. Last season he started every contest for a Colonials team that lost in the Northeast Conference championship game to Long Island University.

In the Colonials Dec. 3 match against Monmouth, Velton Jones hustled after a loose ball, leaped over the Hawks bench, and landed awkwardly in the stands trying to keep the play alive. The 6 foot guard did this despite his team being up by 16 points with less than two minutes remaining.

Jones ended up twisting his knee on the play and had to be helped off the court by teammates.

“How many guys try to even make that play when you are up 16 or 17 points? That says so much about that young man,” Monmouth head coach King Rice said of Velton Jones’s extra effort play. “That tells you he’s a special player.”

According to Robert Morris head coach, Andy Toole, Velton Jones has earned the respect of his teammates by not being afraid to leave it all on the line.

“He doesn’t really have much concern for his own well-being and that’s why our guys love him and that’s why he’s one of our leaders,” said Toole. “He’s willing to take those plays and he’s willing to go a little bit further than some of our other guys are. It’s great to have someone like him on your team.”

Although he shot a dismal 0 for 8 from the floor in the first half of the January 12 matchup against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, Velton Jones never gave up and caught fire in the final 20 minutes, tallying all 22 of his points in the second half.

“He’s so good at drawing contact and he does such a great job of driving north to south that it’s hard to not get your guards in foul trouble when they’re trying to stay in front of him.” QU skipper Tom Moore said of Velton Jones’ ability to handle the basketball.

Despite Velton Jones’s outstanding productivity on the offensive side of the ball for Robert Morris during the past few games, Toole elected to sit Velton Jones out of the starting lineup against Sacred Heart on January 14. Although it was the first time that he wasn’t in the starting lineup since his redshirt freshman year, Velton Jones believed that it was the correct decision in order to give his team an opportunity to win.

“It was weird sitting on the bench because that’s the first time I haven’t started since my freshman year,” said the redshirt junior. “Coach tried to switch it [the lineup] up a little bit since we came out flat in our last two games. I just tried to do whatever I could to help my team out.”

“Everybody looks up to ‘V.’ He’s one of our vocal leaders on the team,” stated sophomore guard Anthony Myers. “He’s like a brother to all of us.”

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