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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

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Former Hawk lands back at St. Joe’s: Q&A with men’s basketball’s new assistant coach-player development

Jones will be responsible for in-game coaching, implementing drills and player and team development PHOTO COURTESY OF SJU ATHLETICS

St. Joe’s Athletics announced Sept. 12 that Dwayne Jones ’05 will be joining the men’s basketball coaching staff as assistant coach-player development. Jones was a three-year starting center for St. Joe’s from 2002-2005. In that time he was named Atlantic 10 Defensive Player of the Year for the 2004 2005 season, also earning NABC All-District, A-10 All-Conference and All-Big 5 honors in the same season. Jones was also an integral part of the historic 2003-2004 undefeated regular season for the Hawks. Following his time on Hawk Hill, Jones was signed by the Minnesota Timberwolves as an undrafted free-agent. He played professionally for 12 years, playing in the NBA, NBA G League and internationally in China, the Philippines, Qatar, Venezuela and Argentina.

In 2016, Jones joined the development staff for the 76ers, spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach. The Hawk sat down with Jones to discuss his time on Hawk Hill and his new position with the men’s basketball program.

The Hawk: The 20th anniversary of the historic 2003-2004 season is coming up. What was your best memory from that season?

Jones: The biggest thing was we had a great group of guys, teammates, support staff and coaches. So for me, I think the memories were off the court. It’s hanging out after wins and being at restaurants together and just being on campus and being in a locker room together. So I think I remember all those times more than the wins.

The Hawk: During your time here, you played under Coach Phil Martelli. What are some lessons or takeaways you learned under him?

Jones: Coach has had a great impact on my life. One of the biggest things that I learned from him is being organized, being on time, being accountable to not only myself, but really my teammates and the whole university. He was big on representing St. Joe’s in a positive manner.

The Hawk: What other things did you learn from your time at St. Joe’s that you plan to pass on as a coach?

Jones: The experience I had as a player on campus, I want to be able to provide the guys that. But also a lot of our players have aspirations to be professionals, and using my playing career and my coaching career to be able to pass along that knowledge. It’s easy to talk about getting there. But wanting to stay, staying there and understanding the work that you need to put in and the time, the effort and every level you progress from high school to college, from college to the pros, you need to have a professional mindset about it and keep that worker’s mentality.

The Hawk: Did you ever imagine returning to Hawk Hill and giving back to the program in the capacity you are now?

Jones: [I thought,] “Once I leave college, I’m going to enjoy from afar, but I won’t ever come back in that capacity.” But as time progressed, and obviously with my relationship with Coach Lange, I’ve been really paying attention to the program the last few years. It’s always been intriguing, always been in the back of my mind, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to come back to Hawk Hill because this is home for me, and it’s been home for 20-plus years.

The Hawk: Can you describe your relationship with Coach Lange?

Jones: Coach Lange was one of the first people when I walked into the Sixers organization who took me under his wing. He was very instrumental in me developing as a coach early on. I think my first real head coaching experience was, funny enough, coaching his younger twins and my older son when my son was in second grade, and his twins were in fourth grade. He was the first person who trusted me to be a head coach, coaching kids, but it was nice to get that opportunity and he was always there to help me out, give me tips, and I think we’ve developed a friendship over the years.

The Hawk: What is your primary focus going into this season?

Jones: The staff has done a great job with the program. Coach Lange and all these guys have done a great job progressing. I want to come in and be able to help and improve some of the stuff we’ve been doing, and learn myself because again. I’m new to this side of college basketball. So, I think being able to step back and kind of learn from these guys, but also use my coaching experience and my playing experience, and to be able to maybe just have a different perspective.

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Mia Messina
Mia Messina, Sports Editor
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