By Halle Frisco
Redshirt-junior, starting point guard and captain Jakwan Jones, who attended Imhotep Institute Charter High School in Philadelphia, is making waves for ESU Men’s Basketball. This season, Jones has returned to the starting lineup after suffering a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) during his sophomore season and is excited by how well the season is going.
ESU secured the No. 1 seed in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and clinched the PSAC East division title for the regular season. Jones said that this has been his favorite ESU basketball memory to date.
As a result, ESU hosted the Men and Women’s PSAC Tournament Quarterfinals for the first time in school history yesterday.
Off the court, Jones is a double-major in sport and business management and is a two-time Dean’s List honoree.
Returning from a sidelining injury can be tough for any athlete. However, Jones used his time off to become a better teammate and worked harder to come back strong for his team.
“I was able to find myself in all my rehab and watching my team from the sideline. It really made me appreciate the game more. I attacked rehab with full-force and returned to play faster than normal,” said Jones.
Jones splits time at point guard with teammate Kitt Najee Walls, who is a junior on the team. Walls suffered a recent injury and is potentially out for the remainder of the season.
“Kitt is a strong, aggressive and competitive player which already pushes me to be at the top of my game every day and vice versa. He wants to win just like myself and the rest of my teammates, [but] his absence also requires me to raise my game to even another level which is a challenge I am ready for and one that I already put myself through each day to get better,” said Jones.
Losing a valuable player like Walls to injury heading into the conference tournament could affect the dynamic of the team, but Jones isn’t worried.
“The team is so focused on the same goal and one-minded on the court. I think we all are able to step our games up for each other and for Kitt, who will be competing from the sidelines right along with us, to help accomplish our goals we have set out for this season,” said Jones.
Jeff Wilson, who has been Head Coach of Men’s Basketball for 15 years, has coached Jones for his four undergraduate seasons.
“Jakwan, along with the other captains, has led the team on a daily basis both inside the locker room and on the basketball court. Any team that has success relies on its core leaders, and this year’s group has been tremendous. Jakwan has emerged as one of the more vocal players and someone that the players respect when he provides leadership to the group as a whole or individual players in one-on-one settings,” stated Wilson.
Jones has averaged 9.2 points and an impressive 6.3 assists per game this season.
Jones plans to use his redshirt year to play an additional season for ESU.
ESU hosted Kutztown in the PSAC Tournament Quarterfinals last night.
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