Posted On: 06/7/19 12:29 PM
When many people from other countries think of America they think of the bright lights and big cities that are on sitcoms and have professional sporting teams. They definitely don’t think of the mountains of West Virginia. However, for a handful of international kids, Teay’s Valley Christian outside of Huntington, WV has become their home.
One of the latest guys to show up is rising junior David Jones, who came over from the Dominican Republic last summer and enrolled at Teay’s Valley with fellow Dominican Anderson Mirambeaux. Since then, Jones has had to deal with a lot of things in his transition both on and off the court, and one of those things is learning the English language and adjusting to the education system of the United States.
I learned how hard that’s been throughout this interview as he tried to explain to me how the transition went.
“We’re working hard and working good in school, and we’re working hard everyday,” Jones said in somewhat broken English.
So imagine at 16 years old going to a new country, enrolling in a school where no one looks or talks like you, and you have to learn the language while trying to learn and keep up with the school work. Now imagine you have to do that, all while also going to practice and training year round to play basketball.
When I asked him how the transition on the court was, Jones didn’t seem to have much to say about that.
“It’s intense over here, we play one-on-one all the time over in the Dominican and we play it here sometimes too but here I’ve had to learn how to run different plays and play with my new teammates.”
One thing that Jones’ doesn’t have to worry about is the opinion of Head Coach Ryan Arrowood. The West Virginia native is known as a fiery and demanding coach, but Jones’ high motor and relentless work ethic are among the reason the coach spoke very highly of him when I asked.
“We are really happy with David’s development on the court, in the classroom and in the community,” Arrowood said. “He’s an elite transition offensive player, and maybe the best offensive rebounding guard I have ever coached. As he continues to grow in his half court execution on both ends of the floor, he could be one of the top players in his class. The heart and passion he has for the game is infectious with our team and I have no doubt that there are great things ahead of him.”
Arrowood isn’t exaggerating about Jones either, as he’s showing that with his play for Boo Williams 16U this summer. In the first game I watched this summer he had a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds, with 9 of those rebounds coming on the offensive end. He’s extremely strong and athletic, and he thrives in transition where he can use that to play well above the rim.
While he still needs to sure up things when the game gets slowed down, Jones believes in his coach and has the perfect attitude to play for him, so the chances of him improving are very good.
“If you don’t practice hard or play hard, he’ll kick you off the floor you know?” He said with a smile on his face. “He’s going to remind you, every time we play hard, and if you play lazy you’re coming to the bench and someone else is going into the game. So I know I need to play hard and play defense and play together and we’ll be OK.”
Expect to hear more about Jones as he continues to develop, and college coaches be sure to check him out on Teay’s Valley this season where they have a loaded 2021 class with prospects chock full of potential.