The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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April 5, 2014

PLAYER OF THE YEAR

(Continued)

Clinton coach Nick Lawrence talked with Jones about how to handle the pressures that come with breaking a barrier, but all Jones cared about was winning.

“We had talked about the 1,000 points and breaking the all-time record before the season started,” Lawrence said. “Jalen knew what was coming. He doesn’t place much emphasis on that, however, because he is such an unselfish kid.”

Jones became the school’s all-time leading scorer six days before reaching 1,000 points as he again made a free throw on Feb. 8 in the fourth quarter to pass Dick Farwell’s 965-point total that had stood for nearly 60 years.

When Lawrence saw Jones play for the first time, he knew that Clinton was going to have a special player.

“His game was as fluid then as it is now,” Lawrence said. “I was impressed with the fact he knew how to play the game; he was going to be talented.”

Lawrence even believes Jones might be one of the best players ever from this area.

“He makes things look so effortless,” Lawrence said, “and what he can do on the floor is crazy at times.”

Despite doing the things that made Jones the player he was, there were times where Lawrence asked Jones to be a guard.

“He grew up really fast,” Lawrence said. “A couple years ago, we had asked him to be the primary ball-handler, and he accepted the challenge because he’s always team first.”

“I knew I had to step up,” Jones said. “I wanted to be a leader, and if that’s what they needed me to do, I’ll do it.”

Jones will head west to the Summit League, which is NCAA Division I, and play for the Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks. Jones committed before the season started, and one of the reasons why is how hard the Mavericks coaching staff was recruiting him.

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