Cabarrus

A leader from the gridiron to the hardwood

When Teven Jones came to A.L. Brown nearly four years ago, he weighed 105 pounds.

Since then, Jones, 17, has not only grown into his 5-foot-10-inch frame but has developed into one of the best players on both the Wonders' basketball and football teams.

After another standout season on the gridiron, where the senior wide receiver had 39 catches for 688 yards and nine touchdowns, Jones is looking for similar results on the hardwood.

Jones said, however, that it's tough to transition between the two sports.

"I know I'm not in basketball shape just yet," he said. "I've just got to work a little harder for a couple weeks. Then I'll be right back where I need to be."

Jones didn't waste any time as he poured in 18 points to lead his team to a season-opening 55-51 win against South Rowan just days after stepping back on the basketball floor. Jones, an All-South Piedmont Conference selection last year after averaging 18 points per game, didn't look like he had missed a beat.

"My game is all about quickness," said Jones. "As a wide receiver or a point guard, you have to be able react quickly with your body and your mind. When you know what you're doing, you have a big advantage on the defenders."

When you have the speed, athletic ability and strength that Jones possesses, that also helps.

The senior can run a 4.43-second 40-yard dash, has a 33-inch vertical leap and can bench press as much as 210 pounds despite only weighing in at 170. Jones feels like his strength and speed will make him an even tougher player to guard as he hopes to expand his pull-up and outside game into on that sees him consistently driving the paint.

"Jones is our leader and all of the players respect him," said A.L. Brown basketball coach Shelwyn Klutz. "He has a chance to have a great year, and be one of the best guards in the area and players in our conference. Hopefully, that will mean our team gets even better as well."

The Wonders finished 15-10 last year, behind state runner-up Concord in the SPC standings. Jones and Klutz are looking to lead a younger team to even bigger and better things this season.

Jones "is an outstanding one-on -one player," said Klutz. "We want him to make his teammates better and get everyone involved, and he is doing a great job of that thus far."

Jones, who has been on the varsity team since his sophomore year, is ready for his time to lead the team.

"It's definitely my time to be a leader, to make sure this team understands what it takes to win, and there will be no joking around," he said. "I am ready to help this team win a conference title and go far in the playoffs. I think we have a chance to very good."

Jones will likely team with junior Damien Washington in the backcourt, with sophomores Tevin Stark and Derrick Copeland in reserve.

Kannapolis will need a relatively inexperienced frontcourt to step forward; seniors Chandler Reynolds and Parrish Smith, as well as sophomores Michael Carr and Keeon Johnson, the most likely to get the bulk of the playing time.

A good number of these players are also on the Wonder football team, something Jones and his teammates will use to push themselves during basketball season.

"To end the football season like that was something that really hurt," said Jones of the 45-7 loss to Charlotte Catholic. "It gives me a lot of motivation to not let the same thing happen in basketball. I want to go out on top."

Jones also hopes to play football or basketball in college. Klutz believes Jones has a chance to be at least a mid-major Division I player.

Jones wants to show that he'll be able to do that this year for the Wonders.

"I definitely want to be play in college," said Jones. "But I am going to have to go out and prove that I can do that. Hopefully, I can do that this year and have a great season."

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