Credit: Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images
Credit Panagiotis Moschandreou/Euroleague Basketball via Getty Images

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne playmaker Chris Jones, who is ranked sixth in scoring and performance index rating so far this season, talked to EuroLeague.net about his family, playing basketball in Mongolia, and the way he managed to sneak into the EuroLeague.

Chris Jones

Chris  Jones
Chris  Jones
MIN: 28.58
PTS: 15.88 (60.19%)
REB: 3.25
As: 2.63
ST: 1.75
BL: 0.13
TO: 1.63
GM: 8

Jones grew up as the oldest of three siblings raised in a single-parent household headed by his mother, LaTonya McCoy, so he took on many responsibilities at a young age while his mother was working.

Chief among them was to serve as a father figure to his brother, who was almost a decade younger, and his sister, who was seven years further behind. Far from being an inconvenience, the experience helped Jones become the kind of player and family man he is today.

"I felt like it helped me a lot. You know, just the responsibilities of being that father figure at home for my brother and sister," Jones says. "I feel like it helped me in the long run, especially now, with my two little boys and my wife, as well."

"Just kind of putting everything on my back and taking care of everything. Being a point guard, you kind of got to do that on the court, as well. So I feel like it plays hand in hand," he added.

Before he went to university, Jones had to learn many things about taking care of his younger siblings, but he had his mother to lean on for guidance.

"It was difficult just due to the fact of not really having my father around, kind of not knowing how to be a father figure to my siblings," he said. "So it was tough, but I feel like my mom kind of taught me the rights and wrongs and the ins and outs of the good and bad in life. I felt like she did a great job, and I kind of passed those down to my brother and my sister."

"It was a stepping stone, and I feel like it was great. The competition was good. It's not EuroLeague or other leagues that I've been in, but I feel like coming out of college, I needed that to make more steps higher to where I want to be."

He worked his way up from there, playing for Starwings Basket Regio Basel of Switzerland, Mons-Hainaut of Belgium, and Bursaspor Durmazlar before making his EuroLeague debut with Maccabi Playtika Tel Aviv in 2020.

3-pointers this season

40%
8,1
Points made: 8,1
Accuracy: 39,6%
Place in standings: 10
Record max: 12
Record min: 5
Most made 3FGs: Elie Okobo

In less than five years, Jones went from an unknown Mongolian team to the best basketball league in Europe. He has enjoyed every bit of that ride.

"Oh, it's a journey. I love it. You know, traveling all over the world, something I could tell my kids. Well, now my kids have traveled, many places except for Mongolia and Switzerland.

But Belgium, Turkey, Israel, now France – my kids have been everywhere with me. So I mean, it's good to just let them travel the world and see different places that normally, where I'm from, you don't really get to see. So I think it's great. It's just a blessing from God, honestly," Jones said.

Coming far to finally reach the EuroLeague has made the experience even sweeter for Jones, who knows exactly why he was able to overcome so many obstacles.

"It's the hunger," he says. "It's proven that it wasn't given to me, and I worked for it. I mean, it doesn't come easy. For anybody watching this, that feels like they can't play here or don't have a chance, I'll just say, 'Keep working: your time will come.' Longer than I expected, but I mean, I'm here, and my goal is to stay here."

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