MOREHEAD CITY — If he keeps this up, he’s going to go and earn himself a nickname.
Maybe something like “Dunkin’ DaShawn” or “Jumpman Jones.”
Or hopefully someone will come up with something cooler.
DaShawn Jones has been a human highlight film so far this season for the West Carteret boys basketball team, averaging a dunk per game with 10 slams in his team’s 10 contests.
“I promised my mom that this year I was going to get a lot of dunks,” he said. “I know everybody has been waiting for them.”
Jones first dunked as a freshman.
“It was in JV practice,” he said. “I would get some and miss some after that, so I had to just keep practicing.”
He threw down a total of just two during his sophomore and junior campaigns. He had one on a putback as a sophomore and flushed an alley-oop as a junior.
He doubled that number in the first half Friday with four dunks in a 78-36 victory over Croatan. That game included a wicked tomahawk slam.
“That’s been my favorite so far,” Jones said.
Just looking at him, it’s hard to believe Jones is such a high flyer, standing 6-foot and weighing 175 pounds. Despite a lack of size, his abundance of jumping ability had him close to first dunking as an eighth grader. Unfortunately, an attempt set him back a while.
“I broke both of my wrists at the same time my eighth grade year trying to dunk in P.E. class,” he said. “I was hanging on the rim and didn’t wait for my feet to get under me and tried to catch myself.”
Jones had a flashback to that accident Monday when he was undercut going in for a dunk and came crashing down to the court.
“I almost dunked on someone and came down like that one my eighth grade year,” he said. “That one scared me a little bit. Walking to the free-throw line I was feeling a bit shaky.”
It would be a disservice, however, to label Jones as just a dunker.
He’s been a huge part of the Patriots’ impressive 9-1 start. He leads the team in rebounding (6.1) and blocked shots (1.1) and ranks second in scoring (13.3), steals (2.8) and assists (1.5).
“I’m pretty excited,” he said. “I feel like we’re going to have a good year. We’re starting it off right and I just hope it keeps going.”
Jones has upped his numbers in every category compared to his junior and senior seasons. Last year, he averaged 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals. As a sophomore, he averaged 7.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
The standout football player chalks up some of his improvement to just feeling better.
“I’m usually beat up from football when I start basketball but I was feeling pretty healthy this year,” he said. “At the same time, football legs and basketball legs are very different so I still had a lot of work to do. I’m getting there. I’m not fully there, but almost.”
In addition to dunks, Jones has added a perimeter game to his bag of tricks. After hitting 17 three-pointers in 24 games as a sophomore and 11 in 15 as a junior, he’s already got 15 in 10 this season. He fires them off with an old school set shot.
“I’ve worked on my shot some lately because last year I had a lot of open attempts that I wouldn’t knock down,” he said. “I have to make them count this year because I don’t know if I’ll ever play basketball again.”
Jones plans on playing football at the next level after earning the News-Times Player of the Year honor this fall. He had 1,044 rushing yards, 449 receiving yards and 105 yards with 20 total touchdowns. He ran for 12 touchdowns, caught six, returned one on a kickoff and returned one on an interception this season.
He also adds a 3.25 GPA to those numbers.
“Right now, I’ve got a partial scholarship offer from St. Andrews and N.C. State is talking to me about a preferred walk-on spot,” he said. “Those are my offers right now.”
Last year, he went for 1,138 all-purpose yards with 525 rushing yards, 228 receiving yards, 230 kickoff return yards, nine punt return yards and 86 interception return yards to go with 10 total touchdowns.
In his four-year varsity career, he had 199 tackles and eight interceptions.
His basketball team’s lone defeat came to West Craven on Dec. 5 in a 49-45 setback. The Partriots earned a measure of payback last week in a 59-53 triumph over the Eagles. Jones filled the stat sheet with nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
“I feel like we should have won that first game, too,” he said. “We came out and underestimated them.”
Jones helped West jump out to a 10-0 start last season before going down with a sprained ankle, which caused him to miss eight contests. The Patriots went 2-6 without him. He returned for the last three games with West going 1-2.
The Patriots’ slide to end the season, going 3-8, caused them to miss the 3A playoffs.
“It was really frustrating,” Jones said. “I remember sitting on the sidelines and wishing I was out there helping out the team. I came into this year really hoping I wouldn’t have any injuries this year, or anyone else on the team either, because I wouldn’t want anybody to have to sit there and watch their team struggle.”
Here are a few of Jones’ favorite things, as well as his ideal groups with which to eat dinner and survive a zombie apocalypse:
Favorite Movie: “The Longest Yard.”
Favorite Band/Artist: NBA Youngboy.
Favorite Team: Denver Broncos.
Favorite Athlete: Tavon Austin.
Favorite Vacation: Myrtle Beach. S.C.
Favorite Subject: Math.
Favorite Food: Pizza.
Favorite Season: Summer.
Favorite Sports Memory: Hanging with teammates.
Favorite Sport: Football.
Favorite Follow on Twitter/Instagram: DaShawn Jones (pr1nxej0nez).
Ideal Dinner Guest List: Mom, brother, grandma, girlfriend and cousin.
Ideal Group To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: Mason Villeneuve, Steven Barr, Michael Jones, Micah Dixon, Josh Plisko and coach Daniel Barrow.