Thursday, March 20, 2008

"I Wouldn't Be Alive If It Weren't For Basketball" ...

... Those words are literally true for USD freshman forward Rob Jones.

His father, Jim Jones, Jr., is the adopted son of Jim Jones, the infamous cult leader who led over 900 people to their deaths in a mass-suicide in Guyana 1978. In fact, Jones, Jr. was the first African-American child adopted by white parents in the state of Indiana.

He survived the "Jonestown Massacre" because he was away playing with the Peoples Temple basketball team against the Guyanese national team at the time, so Rob Jones is accurate when he says that he wouldn't be here if not for hoops.

"I developed a love for basketball on my own, but it's been so important because my dad (was) out playing basketball," he said. "That's why he's still alive today."

Jim Jones, Jr. won't be attending tomorrow's game, since his wife Erin is still on the mend from foot surgery.

At 19, Rob Jones is remarkably mature for his age. He handles questions about the "Jonestown Massacre" from the media and general public, as well as taunting from rival fans, with aplomb.

"Sometimes I've heard people make jokes," he said. "It's my history. That was a couple of years in the past before the story really got out. It's just kind of funny to me."

Opposing crowds have made some remarks, most notably fans at Gonzaga.

"Some of them are pretty funny and creative," Jones admitted. "I try to use it as a little motivation, get a little edge against them. It'll probably always be there … but I have no problem with it. It doesn't really bother me in a negative way. I'm fine with it."

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