Keeping up with the Joneses: Junior Jordan Jones is catapulting himself as a basketball player at West Forsyth

Published 9:19 am Saturday, December 2, 2023

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By Jay Spivey

For the Clemmons Courier 

Jordan Jones has played football and basketball for much of his young life, but he didn’t really consider himself a good athlete. 

Jones, a 6-foot-1 junior guard on the boys basketball team at West Forsyth, was like many teenagers growing up where he played video games. 

“Sixth-, seventh-grade, I really think I would be a couch potato,” Jones said.  

Something changed in him around sixth-grade. 

“I was not going to play football because I don’t like getting hit,” Jones said. “And at the time, I did start playing video games a lot, so without me playing basketball and doing cardio and getting in shape and stuff I really do think I probably would’ve been big just sitting on the couch and playing video games.” 

As Jones grew older his competitive juices started to flow with his five siblings — half-brother Dee Bentley, 23, sister Sydney Jones, 18, sister Aubrey Jones, 15, sister Peyton Jones, 12, and sister Madison Jones, 9. Jones, like many people, has gone through divorce between his parents — Stanley and Brandey Jones. Jones said they divorced when he was in third- or fourth-grade.  

“At the age I was, I really didn’t understand what was going on,” Jones said. “It really didn’t affect me as much, but then as I got older, having to switch back and forth with houses and stuff, and then having to go to the same school and having to get up early some days or later some days. I mean, it wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t say it was good.” 

According to Jones, both of his parents still live here and are on good terms.  

“I see them whenever I want to,” he said. “…It helps a lot because the co-parenting, that’s really good, and me being able to drive if I want to go see one then I can whenever I want to.” 

Jones gets to see his younger siblings every day, and Dee Bentley has his own house.  

“Now that they’re on good terms and stuff, I mean, I feel like it’s less stress and less sadness,” he said. “I get to see them more. And I see my dad a lot and see my mom mostly all the time. My brother, I see him often.” 

Other than Dee Bentley, Jones said he’s the only child that plays sports.  

“I think it’s a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because everybody else, they’re not playing sports,” Jones said. “Everybody else comes to my games and stuff watching me play.”

Coming up, he didn’t play at Clemmons Middle School, but he did play AAU basketball in seventh-grade for CP3 Select, named for former West Forsyth player and current NBA star Chris Paul.  

“I think it was pretty cool (to know that Paul played at West Forsyth). It was a good thing to know, like I’m playing AAU for a guy that I’m going to the school that he went to,” Jones said. “And him just being around in Winston and his height, he’s like 6-foot or something like that, him being that short, being able to go DI (at Wake Forest) then going to the league (NBA) it was a little bit inspiring.” 

Although Jones didn’t play at Clemmons Middle School, he had every intention of playing basketball at West Forsyth as a freshman. At the time, Coach Kevin King was the head coach at West Forsyth. 

“I don’t think (King) knew me at the time because my freshman year I really wasn’t supposed to play varsity,” Jones said. “During workouts they had me playing with JVs, but he didn’t know me at that time.” 

As a team, the Titans finished Jones’ freshman season 8-17 overall and 3-11 in the Central Piedmont 4-A. 

“I don’t think it went good,” Jones said. “I felt like me not playing any competitive basketball for other than like AAU … got to me. Then, when I get in games I’d mess up. I mean I’d play, but some games I wouldn’t play at all.” 

After Jones’ freshman season, King resigned.  

“That whole time I thought he was going to be (the) coach again and then one time he called us all out of class and said he was going to resign,” Jones said.  

After King resigned West Forsyth hired Marlon Brim, the former head coach at Atkins, to take over. Jones said he didn’t know much about Brim before he took over before his sophomore season.  

“I knew Jacari (Brim’s son and now Jones’ teammate at West Forsyth), but I didn’t know that Coach Brim was his dad,” Jones said. “And then right when we went to go meet him, I still didn’t know him, but I knew Jacari. And workouts and stuff I liked him.” 

Jones thinks of himself as being unathletic, but Marlon Brim immediately saw something in him as a player.  

“I thought he was athletic,” Brim said. “Long. Played hard and just had to get used to the way we played as a coaching staff.” 

Jones impression of himself, according to Brim, is a figment of his imagination. 

“I think he just has to get more confident in his ability as a basketball player,” Brim said. “A couple years of picking up a basketball the hardest thing is develop confidence right off the bat. So, I think he’s gotten stronger. He’s gotten more athletic. But I think he has more potential than what he thinks he has.” 

It’s just a matter of working his craft in the gym. 

“The more he plays, the more he gets into games and into rhythm and can score the ball and do things that he can do, I mean he can gain more confidence in himself.” 

One thing that Jones said helped him last season was the tough love that Brim brings as a coach. 

“Yeah, we don’t like being yelled at, but him yelling at us made us like play harder, not make as much mistakes and stuff,” Jones said. “Because I wouldn’t say we were a tall last year, but we had some tall players and good players, but for our size I think we outhustled and outworked everybody else.” 

Brim is the same way with Jacari Brim and the rest of the team. 

“I think a lot of kids are not used to tough love, especially from a coaching aspect,” Marlon Brim said. “And when they see a coach that has tough love, but also give them love on and off the court, I think it makes a difference. It kind of shows that you can be a tough coach on the court, but you can also be a guy that they can come talk to, things like that. So, I enjoy talking to all of them.” 

The Titans improved considerably last season, going 15-11.  

“(Jones) played varsity as a freshman, but he didn’t play a lot,” Brim said. “When you come into a new job you want to see kids in your own perspective, not what people say because some people have some negative things to say about kids, nd some will say, ‘Ah, he’s the best player.’ But for me it was come in with a clean slate and judge them off what I see and what I think from my perspective from how I wanted kids to be in my program. That’s how I judge them.” 

There was one thing Brim wanted Jones to switch. 

“I wanted to change the way he approached the game,” Brim said. “I think if he plays harder, if he plays within himself Jordan is really good. And that’s what we worked on last year. His confidence lacked, so this summer I think he had a really good summer. I think he had a pretty good offseason, so his confidence should be better than what it was as a a sophomore.” 

The season just started for the West Forsyth boys, but the team is trying to regroup after losing seniors AJ Baskerville and Kennison Moore to graduation. 

“We’ve just got to rebound more and do the dirty work and stuff,” Jones said. “And since we don’t got AJ to score like we’re going to have to step it up. I’m going to have to step it up.” 

With nearly two full seasons left for Jones the sky’s the limit for him. 

“I think Jordan can be really, really good,” Brim said. “Like I said, nobody knows a lot about him. So, to me this will be a year where he can put his name out there and show people that he do a lot of things – like he can shoot it, he can slash, he can defend, he can pass. He can do everything, but he’s just got to be consistent at the varsity level.” 

West Forsyth defeated Charlotte Mallard Creek 82-74 this past Saturday. It plays at Atkins on Friday and at Western Guilford next Tuesday. It opens Central Piedmont 4-A play on Dec. 15 at home against Parkland.  

“I think we’re going to be the best team in the conference,” Jones said. “One, We’ve got a bunch of people that can score. Two, I don’t see nobody that plays as hard as we do, especially with our size and stuff. And then we’ve got guards that can rebound and play really good defense.”