By Thomas Sellers Jr.
These days some impressive basketball resumes are walking, running and jumping on the court of the William Osteen Gymnasium.
Maybe the most decorated list of hoops accomplishments might be coaching the newly formed Millington Showstoppers. Anthony Jones and his staff are preparing the 15-man roster for season one in the Official Basketball Association starting March 20. Jones who has played alongside NCAA Basketball Hall of Famer Stacey King and NBA legend Magic Johnson is ready to lend his basketball mind to his Flag City squad.
“I had a good high school career,” Jones recalled. “I really didn’t take high school basketball seriously because I was playing football and ran track. I played three sports and I had to make a choice. I choose basketball and got pretty got at it. I went to JUCO in Warner, Oklahoma to Connor State Junior College. I was in the top 10 at three-point percentage. I was a Junior College All-American both years.
“Then I ended up signing with Oklahoma State and I didn’t end up going,” he continued. “So I went to school in Kentucky. I broke my wrist and ended up coming back home. I played one year at Oral Roberts and got drafted in 1991 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Then I played there for a year and got waived. I ended up playing overseas for 15 years.”
Now the Oklahoma native is calling the Memphis area home. Jones married Memphis native Paula Jones who played basketball at Raleigh-Egypt High School.
“At first I was going to do this in Memphis,” he noted. “But I know Memphis doesn’t really support a lot of things like this. I said my partner (Jason Nichols) is out here. I said let me see if I can bring it out here to Millington. So I talked to Terry Roland. He was real interested in me doing. And plus I worked for Bo Griffin when he was at Raleigh-Egypt. They allowed me to bring it out here. So here we are.”
Jason Nichols just guided the Millington Central High School Lady Trojans to Regionals and a third-place finish in District 15-2A in his first season. Now Jones is looking to have success in the same facility. The Millington Showstoppers will call the William Osteen Gymnasium home and will debut in Flag City March 27 at 7 p.m. against the 901 Memphis Thunder. There will be special appearances by Lil Wyte and Chris J.
The Showstoppers will make there season debut March 20 in Nashville with players like Calvin Chambers (2011 State champion with Craigmont) and Anthony Jones Jr. (Raleigh-Egypt standout) just to name a few.
“My guard play is real good,” Coach Jones said. “I got good bigs who can score and shoot the three. They can put it on the floor. I’ve got interchangeable players. There’s no more traditional big man.
“My playing style is more uptempo, smart basketball,” he added. “Find the mismatches leading to dunks. We’re going to be real exciting.
The boy from Lawton, Oklahoma became a man playing all over the world. Now he will guide a team to places in Florida, Indiana and more in the OBA.
“This is what I like to do and I know the struggle for young men once they have those aspirations to want to play on another level,” he said. “This is the route you’ve got to take. I took this same route after I got waived by the Lakers.
“I took the same route so I know how hard it is to not be able to showcase your different skills because people won’t give you another chance,” Jones continued. “I could be doing other things because I’ve got two daughters playing D-I basketball right now. I would be watching them but I’d rather do that helping other people. My girls understand what’s going on.”
Manaya and Sinetra are back in their father’s home state playing basketball at Oral Roberts. They join their brother AJ as a college basketball player. Meanwhile the proud father will be watching his new baby the Millington Showstoppers be born, take its first steps and start reaching goals March 20.
“It will be good for the city of Millington because I think this is something Millington really needs,” he said. “It’s going to be real exciting. you’ll go home and talk about it. You’ll know the faces. I’ve got a good group of guys. I don’t have any hard-heads or knuckleheads. I refuse to have that in our organization.
“It’s going to be real exciting for the city of Millington,” Jones concluded. “I want to thank Terry Roland, Bo Griffin, Hank Hawkins and Millington Central High School for making this happen.”