Promised Land

If you take a quick glance of Rob Jones’ stat line in his college career at San Diego and now St. Mary’s, nothing really sticks out as eye-popping. His Grandad took care of that.

Jones averages just under 15 points per game this season for the St. Mary’s Gaels, the number one seed in the West Coast Conference.  As a senior forward for the surging Gaels, Jones upped his rebounding numbers significantly in his final season at Moraga, California’s signature school. Before transferring to St. Mary’s from San Diego, Jones had to sit out a season. Naturally, St. Mary’s made the tournament that season. The Gaels surprised everyone by knocking off Richmond and Villanova before bowing out to Baylor in the Sweet 16. Jones will march into the NCAA Tournament this March for the second time in his career. He played a less prominent role with the Toreros in his freshman season.

Basketball saved Rob Jones.

His Grandad killed over 900 people in Guyana in 1978. Yeah, the senior forward who plays an unassuming game in an unknown conference faces a lifetime of dealing with the fact that he is related to Jim Jones. That Jim Jones. The charismatic and crazy leader of the Peoples Temple who led a group to a promised utopia and literally made them drink the Kool Aid.

Before Jim carried out his cataclysmic mission, he seemed to have some semblance of a heart.  Jim Jones became the first person to adopt an African-American child in the state of Indiana. Jim named his adopted child Jim Jr. and brought him to Guyana. Jim Jr. loved basketball – and it’s a great thing he did in retrospect. As Jonestown was imploding, Jim Jr. and a few others from Jonestown were allowed to participate in a basketball tournament. Jim Jones saw this tournament as good press for his cult. Jim Jr. and a few others got the ultimate bye.

Rob doesn’t talk that much about his Grandad – and who can blame him.  Not many people can fully comprehend one of the most somber moments in American history.

Rob now gets the chance to make a name for himself in the month of March. Don’t ever underestimate the power of basketball.

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