By: Greg Levinsky
Roughly four hours before tip of the NCAA Final Four clash between No. 1 seeds Villanova and Kansas, Boston University Men’s Basketball head coach Joe Jones received a congratulatory text message.
That message came from a close friend and mentor, Villanova head coach Jay Wright. Prior to a game that would decide a spot in the National Championship game, Wright’s unsolicited message came after Jones coached the West team to victory in the Reese’s College All-Star Game.
“Who does that?” Jones said. “We’re close, the whole bit, but the fact that that guy is even thinking about anything other than, ‘Alright, what do we need to do in this semifinal game’ just shows you that’s what he’s like.”
Jones said a message like that just shows how normal Wright is. Villanova captured its second title in three years on Monday afternoon. Jones was on hand to watch his good friend win.
“If there’s anyone who you think would win multiple National Championships, it’s someone like him,” Jones said.
The 2017-2018 basketball season is finally over for Jones. Completing his seventh year with the Terriers in which they reached the Patriot League semifinals, Jones enjoyed a trip to San Antonio, Texas, this past weekend to take part in Final Four festivities with his coaching staff and family.
He was selected to coach the Reese’s College All-Star Game versus his older brother, James Jones, who recently finished his 19th season as head coach at Yale University.
“I don’t think it’s really going to hit us until we’re older and you start looking back at your life and say, ‘Wow that was a great opportunity,'” Joe Jones said. “You know it’s a great opportunity, you sense it when you’re there, but I think you appreciate it more when it’s over.”
When Joe Jones was at Columbia, James and he faced off 14 times, but this time was extra special as their sons shared the benches with their fathers.
Jones also coached against Patriot League Player of the Year and Bucknell senior Zach Thomas once again. The charismatic Jones even made sure to shout Thomas out during a halftime TV spot.
“It was the long walk from the locker room that did us in.”
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) March 30, 2018
“It was great that he was representing the Patriot League in that game and played well,” Jones said.
Joe’s West squad outlasted James’ East team, 98-94, behind Georgia’s Yante Maten’s 17 points and nine rebounds. In a game designed for the best seniors in college basketball, Jones made sure his team enjoyed the day regardless of the result.
Although the result of the game didn’t effect the standing of either coach at their school, Joe was happy to win.
“Don’t shortchange that, we wanted to get the win,” Jones said.
He said there were over 20 NBA scouts at the All-Star practice and he watched 50 possessions of each of his players to prepare them to showcase their talents on a big stage.
“We tried to put a system in that allowed them to be able to play in their strengths,” Jones said.