Armed with per-game averages of 21.7 points and 7.4 rebounds in 2019-20, the 6-foot-3 junior guard was recently named a National Christian College Athletic Association first-team All-American (Division II) for the second year in a row.
Jones, who played football for the University of Cumberlands before transferring to Knoxville-based Johnson U., shot 51 percent from the field for the second straight year and buried 38.8 percent (38 of 98) of his 3-point attempts. Repeating as the country’s fourth-best scorer, he also ranked 22nd in rebounding while helping the Royals qualify for their third national tournament — this year’s event was canceled because of the coronavirus outbreak — in as many years.
Jones generated a 38-point scoring outburst versus Sewanee, plus he ranked second on the team in steals with 34. Furthermore, he became a two-time All-Mid East Region first-team performer as well as a two-time Academic All-American (3.96 grade-point average both years).
After clearing the 1,000-point barrier in less than two full seasons (three semesters), Jones added 586 points as a junior to push his career total to 1,752 — meaning he has a decent shot to surpass the school record of 2,365.
Jones, a former NCCAA dunk-contest champion and national all-tournament team selection, has accumulated 581 career rebounds.
Teammate Gavin Grubb, who played his high school ball at Sullivan East, manufactured an impressive season of his own. The sophomore guard scored at a 15.6-point clip, shot 86.8% from the free-throw line and posted team-high figures in 3-point goals (48), assists (5.1 per game) and steals (43).
Grubb, who should reach the 1,000-point plateau next season (he needs about 250), posted a 32-point performance versus Campbellsville University Harrodsburg.
Part of JU’s women’s team, Hampton alum Kinzey Hill had a good go of things — averaging 8.4 points per contest. The sophomore guard ranked second for the Lady Royals in 3-point buckets with 36.
A pair of Elizabethton High graduates, Tyler Nichols and Bo Pless, put the lid on quality careers at Milligan College.
Overcoming a shoulder injury that cost him about a fourth of his senior season, Nichols averaged 14.6 points a game and shot 49% from the floor. The 6-4 forward accumulated 1,214 points during his years in a Milligan uniform.
Pless, a 6-5 forward, amassed 925 career points — including 192 3-pointers — for the Buffs. His final season was his best as he tossed in 11.5 points a game, an average backed by a team-high 88 threes.
Another former Cyclone, guard Teve Mushayamunda, completed his time in Milligan’s program. As a senior, he drew action in 11 games and netted nine points.
A transfer from Florida Southern, Josh “Rico” Releford crafted a solid junior campaign with King University.
Outstanding from 3-point territory (40%) and the charity stripe (86.8%), the former David Crockett guard averaged 9.3 points a game for the Tornado.
Releford recorded 13 double-digit scoring games, the best being a 20-point, mid-November showing vs. Lee.
As a freshman guard from Johnson County, Blake Atwood cut his teeth on the collegiate level by appearing in 29 games for King. Averaging 8.2 minutes and 2.2 points, Atwood sank all but two of his 19 foul shots.