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Feedback on a basketball feature

Discussion in 'Writers' Workshop' started by RustyJay, Sep 21, 2012.

  1. RustyJay

    RustyJay Guest

    I'm always looking for feedback.
    I only had around 1100 words to work with as we're a small paper with fairly tight space constraints. One other question, if/when Jones signs with a Division I program how would you address it? The college he plays for is a small two-year institution which has only had the DI signing in its history.

    Guard grinning his way to nation's top 10
    It has to be the most infectious smile on the Hesston College campus.

    Whether the game is a blowout or a back-and-forth battle, or he’s walking to class from his room, there is an excellent chance Mahlon Jones is sporting his pearly white smile.

    “The smile has always been there ever since I was a kid,” Jones said while flashing his trademark grin. “I don’t know why everybody says I smile so much. I can’t help it. Even in my downest times, my mom said I always find a way to smile. I just put a smile on my face and I feel ten times better.”

    The smile could be considered one of the many weapons in Jones’s array. The 6-0 freshman guard is fourth in the NJCAA Division II ranks in scoring, averaging 26.6 points per contest. Jones’s torrid average leads Region VI.

    “Mahlon is one of the best guards in the country,” Head Coach Dustin Galyon said. “He is a scorer. He’s the fastest kid I’ve ever coached. The thing that’s been great about Mahlon is that his mid range game is becoming really solid and he’s starting to develop a perimeter game. The night he had 42, I was less impressed with 42 but more impressed with his leadership.”

    One could almost call it luck that Jones ended up in a Lark uniform. Galyon recruited him out of high school, but Jones had his sights set elsewhere. Despite being recruited by Oral Roberts University, Mahlon was set to attend Central Oklahoma University. However, Jones failed to qualify academically.

    Jones began to take classes at Oklahoma State-Oklahoma City to raise his grades.

    “I talked with my mentor/AAU coach, Gregory Jiles,” Jones said. “I had forgotten to tell him Coach Dustin had come for a visit. He told me to give Coach Dustin a call because he didn’t like me being at home being around all the stuff I could have been around.”

    Jones said he grew up with his older cousins across the street.
    “All my older cousins, they’re gang affiliated,” he said. “Being older, we followed suit in what they did. I’ve seen some stuff most kids my age wouldn’t even think of seeing. One time there was a police raid when I was 12 and my little brother was 10. We were the only ones who weren’t put in handcuffs. My mom came across the street and got us.”
    Jones also said while over at the house, sometimes fights would break out causing he and his brother to do the only thing they knew; they ran and they ran back home. Jones knew he needed to get away from such bad influences.

    Jiles took the opportunity to call Galyon to check if the offer was still on the table.

    “After Mahlon informed me about this I told him that Hesston College would be a good fit for him, because he needed a place away from Oklahoma City to grow and mature as a man and also to get his grades right,” Jiles said. “Galyon told me to bring Mahlon up for a tryout and the rest is history.”

    Jones came to Hesston for the spring semester of 2011. Right away, he was taken with how outgoing the people were and how open the campus community was to a new face.

    “Even though when I stepped on, I didn’t think everyone was going to be this nice and open and welcoming,” he said. “Suddenly, I got used to walking down the street and a person I didn’t know just would look up at me and say hey and wave. That’s not something I was used to. I used to be walking and they would see me and walk a different way or not look at me.”

    From the get go, the bond with his teammates was evident. When he struck up a friendship with Chase McGhee, Jones felt as if he had known McGhee all of his life, even though they had just met. His teammates and modmates are a support network, a network he never realized he had.

    Before the Christmas break, Jones was having a couple of rough days and it showed in practice. During the individual meetings, Galyon informed Jones, his teammates were concerned and asking if everything was all right.

    “I got a text from Chase asking if I was OK,” Jones said. “Alex Santiago and Drew Emmert texted me and told me if I ever needed somebody to talk to, that I could come talk to them. And then people around campus if they see something is wrong, they’d ask me if I was OK. That’s always nice to have, to know you can always have someone to talk to if something is wrong.”

    The team competes with everything from NBA 2K video game battles to trash can shooting. He says away from the court, he’s the best 2K player on the team tied with Santiago, even though he holds the15-cent trophy from the last tourney victory.

    Jones said another aspect of life he likes at Hesston is how he is welcome to contact his professors at any time to ask questions about classes. The labs are open for assistance with writing or tutoring if needed and Jones said the academic support network makes life less stressful.

    “I think people that know Mahlon know he’s really fun natured, he’s usually smiling and he’s kind of a crack up, he’s really funny,” Galyon said “People who don’t know Mahlon are missing out. I think he’s a huge addition to our campus and he brings a perspective that’s very good for our campus to have. I think Mahlon is just scratching the surface.”

    “It has been nothing but a pleasure to watch Mahlon mature as a player and person,” Jiles said. “Sometimes words can't explain my joy for him, but being his mentor/father figure I still give him the business about not getting the big head even when he scores 42 points. I always try to remind him where he came from to get to where he's at today.”

    One thing is for certain; no matter what path Jones follows with basketball, he’ll do so with a smile on his face.
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