CENTERBURG — The spring scholastic sports season may be well underway, but for Centerburg High School sophomore Carter Jones, basketball season hasn’t ended yet. In fact, it will run through spring and well into the summer. Jones is currently playing Mid-Ohio Pumas AAU basketball for Mid-Ohio Class of 2021-Team Gilliland.
At 6-feet-4 and a shade under 200 pounds, his size gives him an advantage inside. That size helped Jones get all-tournament honors, along with teammate point guard Jeremy Wietelmann of Logan Elm, during this past weekend’s Nike Cup in Reynoldsburg. Carter was dominant against some of the best players in the state, and was his team’s leading scorer.
“Our team was in the tournament with 12 or 16 teams,” Jones said. “They were broken up into pools of four. We played All-Ohio Red, who was one of the best teams in the state and one of the better ones in the country, and we only lost by six on Saturday night, but on Sunday, we got blown out.”
Jones was also a part of the 270 Hoops Sophomore Showcase in Columbus in March, which gave him a chance to team up with and against some of the area’s best sophomores.
“I was on a team of players that weren’t in the major conferences,” Jones said. “There was an (Ohio Capital Conference) team and a City League team. I was on a team of guys that were outside of those two leagues. We were pretty good. We had some good athletes on our team. It was a fun time. I enjoyed playing with different people.”
The only time Jones gets a break from basketball is in the fall, when he golfs for the Trojans. Otherwise, it’s all basketball, and that’s okay with Jones. He spends the offseason improving different aspects of his play, like his outside shooting. His dedication pays off anytime opposing teams leave him open. Ask anyone who has watched him knock down some 3-pointers.
“I don’t see basketball practice as work,” Jones said. “It’s more fun for me, especially when you have fun with the other people you’re practicing with. Also, I’m pretty good at self-motivation and knowing that, to get where I want to get to, I have to put in the work to do it. We’ve already started lifting for next season at Centerburg, so we go in there at about 6:15 every morning. Then we lift and then shoot. Then, twice a week, we have practice for AAU down in Columbus.”
Jones versatility allows him to play a number of roles on the floor for Mid-Ohio Puma.
“On our AAU team, we like to get out in a fast break a lot,” Jones said. “If we get the ball, I might bring it up the floor or not. I’m not a set big man or a set guard. The guys on my team gel pretty well together. We’re all on the same page. There’s nobody who tries to stick out. We all have a similar goal, and that really helps us make each other look better and play better, because if we win in weekend tournaments, we can play further into Sundays. Then, more people will watch us.”
Jones has plenty of time to decide which college he’ll go to and where life will take him after high school. Basketball, however, will definitely be a part of it.
“All I know is I want to play college basketball,” Jones said. “I don’t care at what level.”