For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present Xavier commit Colby Jones, from Birmingham, Alabama:
Pro Insight: Describe your game. What are your strengths?
Colby Jones: Being aggressive and assertive. I think my outside shot is good and I’ve improved that a lot. Overall, my versatility. I can attack the basket, rebound, and find my teammates. I feel like I’m a pretty well-rounded teammate.
PI: Where are your biggest areas of improvement?
CJ: My ball-handling. I really want to work on that this summer. Making smarter decisions during the game. When I get tired, that’s when that fatigue kicks in and I need to fight through that and make smart plays. I want to keep working on different moves to get past defenders too.
PI: What are you doing to work on the other areas?
CJ: A lot of ball-handling and skills work, and trying to get stronger in the weight room while keeping my conditioning up.
PI: What’s the most underrated part of your game?
CJ: My playmaking ability. I think people underestimate me with that. People say I’m just a scorer, but I feel like I can really get my teammates involved. Another thing is rebounding. I feel like I can rebound pretty well for a guard.
PI: Talk about what Coach Bucky McMillan and Mountain Brook High School mean to you.
CJ: It’s been great. I feel like Coach McMillan has prepared me so much more than I thought he would for the next level. I’ve learned two different coaching styles, which helps make me a more well-rounded player. I played for Coach Lane at Pinson Valley in my 9th and 10th grade years. Playing for Coach Bucky, if you don’t play hard, you’re not going to play. So i’ve really had to kick that motor into gear more than I ever have before and it’s helped me tremendously.
PI: How did you deal with the offseason conditioning program Coach McMillan does at Mountain Brook?
CJ: Oh man. It was rough my first year here. I hadn’t experienced that before. It was crazy. It’s so hard, but it mentally trains you for the season. When you’re in a game and feel like that, you already know how to fight through it.
PI: What is your favorite basketball memory?
CJ: I’ve to say winning the state championship my junior year. I always wanted to win one and it was so emotional when we won it. It was a great experience.
PI: What was it like after that game?
CJ: It was crazy. We were all celebrating and when Coach Bucky came in we poured water on him. Then all of the sudden the coaches all ran to the showers and came back with water guns and were lighting us up. It was exciting.
*Link to video of locker room water gun fight here: https://twitter.com/BuckyBasketball/status/1102305639794126849
PI: You had a great high school career, beating IMG Academy, leading Mountain Brook to a Top-25 national ranking two years in a row, winning a state title at the highest classification, but coming up just short this year. What were your emotions like after this year’s championship game?
CJ: It was sad how the season ended, but I can’t be more proud of how our team played. We fought so hard in that last game. I think that was the best game we played all year, but we just came up short and didn’t make some shots we usually make at the end. I feel like that was our best game and we really gave it all we had. I was proud of the way we fought even though it didn’t go how we wanted.
PI: How did you like your time with the Alabama Fusion on the EYBL circuit?
CJ: I played with them for three years and absolutely loved it. My coach, Robert Shannon, played with my dad at UAB so my dad has always known him. My 15U year, it was my first year on the circuit, and I feel like I held my own, but didn’t stand out. 16U, at the end of that year, that was when I started making a progression. 17U, coming off a state championship, I had my confidence going and had a good year. I loved playing with that team. Jadan Coleman was my funniest teammate. He’s always cracking jokes.
PI: Why do you wear number 10 and number 3?
CJ: I wanted to wear number 10 at Mountain Brook, but they didn’t have it. 10 was my dad’s number in college.
PI: Hardest player you’ve ever had to guard?
CJ: Cam Thomas. We played Boo Williams in the last session. I was playing good defense, but he has a great offensive package and is a tough cover. Cade Cunningham was also tough. We played him at Peach Jam.
PI: Do you model your game after anyone in particular?
CJ: I would say a little bit of Devin Booker because he played with the Fusion back when they were called the Alabama Challenge. He’d work out with Coach Shannon all the time and we did some of the same stuff that he did.
PI: What went into your decision to pick Xavier?
CJ: When I was looking for a college, I wanted a place that truly wanted me and proved it, was a good academic school, and had a coaching staff I could build trust with. Coach Steele was always on me. He called me all the time. All of the assistants were constantly texting me. It really felt like they wanted me for me the most. I loved the arena, the facilities, and the classrooms. It sort of reminded me of Mountain Brook because it’s kind of small. They said all the teachers know your name because it’s small. It felt like the right fit for me when I went on my visit. It sealed the deal for me after that.
PI: What are your short term goals?
CJ: When I’m a freshman next year, I want to make the All-Freshman Team, but before that, I want my transition from high school to be smooth and make good memories with my friends in high school before I move on.
PI: What about long term goals?
CJ: I want to play professionally for sure. I want to have a great career and be financially stable. I want to spend good time with my family because nothing is guaranteed in life.
PI: Describe your life ten years from now.
CJ: I’m getting ready for the playoffs in the NBA playing for the Milwaukee Bucks. We’ll have some good young players too.
PI: What do you need to focus on in preparation for basketball in college and potentially professionally?
CJ: Staying focused and staying on course. Getting stronger in the weight room and constantly working on getting my game to an elite level. Keep my head on straight and keep God first.
PI: Talk a bit about your family.
CJ: My mom is a nurse and works long hours. She comes to all of my games in high school and AAU. My grandparents travel across the country with me and watch me play AAU. My brother is playing at Middle Tennessee State and transferred from Arkansas. My dad played at UAB and taught me the game at a young age. I have another brother who goes to UAB as a student.
PI: Who has influenced your life the most and why?
CJ: I’d say my mom. She’s made a lot of sacrifices for me and has made me the person I am today.
PI: What is the best advice you’ve been given on life?
CJ: My dad tells me this like every other day. Keep God first and stay prayed up. So much happens in the world that shows you how fragile life is. Keep God first. That’s the most important thing.
PI: What are four words that best describe Colby Jones?
CJ: Goofy. Humble. Shy. Caring.
PI: Tell us something about yourself that most people have no idea about.
CJ: I’m a pretty good saxophone player. I started in 6th grade. I was in the band at my old school in 6th-10th grade but wanted to focus on basketball after that. I can play Sweet Caroline off of memory pretty well.
PI: What is your favorite movie?
CJ: The Family Man with Nicholas Cage.
PI: Favorite TV show?
CJ: Stranger Things. I’m also watching All-American on Netflix right now. It’s really good. On My Block is really good too.
PI: What are your biggest passions or hobbies outside of basketball?
CJ: I love to hang out with my friends and spend time with them. I also watch movies a lot.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you want to be remembered for?
CJ: I want to be remembered for the person I was off the court. Basketball is a big part of my life but it’s not everything. I want to be remembered for how I treated people and how good of a person I was.