Joe Jones was first introduced to the basketball world back in 2013 when he was featured on ESPN.com as a 13 year-old from Buffalo, NY, who stood 6’6 and was competing against players four or five years older than him.
Jones is also known for being the younger brother of Greg Oden — the former Ohio State star who was drafted by the Portland Trailblazers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft, one spot ahead of a guy named Kevin Durant.
Despite all the early hype surrounding Jones, he somehow disappeared from the basketball landscape over the past few years and seemed to have dissolved into basketball folklore much the same as his older brother.
However, Jones has since resurfaced in Orangeville, Ontario of all places — a 45-minute drive northwest of Toronto. He is playing for Orangeville Prep, the No. 1 high school team in Canada.
Orangeville Prep is the program that has spawned current NBA players and former top-10 picks Thon Maker (Milwaukee Bucks) and Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets), as well as dozens of current NCAA Division I players.
His team features some of the best high schoolers in North America, who travel across Canada and the U.S playing in showcase tournaments for college scouts. Jones’ teammate Ignas Brazdeikis is rated as a 4-star recruit and just committed to play for the Michigan Wolverines next year. He is one of several of Jones’s teammates with a long list of NCAA offers.
At 6’10, Jones is the spitting image of his older brother, Greg. While he might not have the same hype behind him, Jones is still drawing interest from dozens of mid-major programs, including UMass, Buffalo, Canisius, Kent State, Niagara, and St. Bonaventure.
Jones said he was really young when Oden was dominating the Big Ten for Ohio State, but says that remembers his days in the NBA well and looks back fondly on his older brother’s playing days.
Oden ended up playing in just 105 career NBA games over six seasons with Portland and Miami due to a series of injuries. He averaged 8.0 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
“I never thought about him like he’s a bust because we saw what he was doing when he was playing, so we knew he was good,” Jones said.
Jones played last season for The Park School in Buffalo where he led his team to a 17-6 record while averaging 15 points along with 10.5 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. His Orangeville Prep squad is currently undefeated in league play in Ontario and looking to repeat as league champions.
Jones said he has taken elements of Oden’s game and incorporated them into his own. He says he feels that he can be a dominant force on the defensive end wherever he lands in the NCAA.
Jones is an imposing force on defense, where he is a dominant shot-blocker and aggressive rebounder for Orangeville Prep. He is capable of contributing offensively by getting points off rebounds, but he needs to work on his mid-range jumper to force defenders to play him closer if he is going to succeed at the NCAA level.
He feels he can be a double-double per game player in college.
“My goal in college is to be a good defender because I’m good on offense but defense is my number one,” he said.
Living in the shadow of his older brother has come with both its blessings and curses but Jones has taken it all in stride and appears poised to create a legacy of his own on the basketball court next season in college.
Watch part of our interview with Jones here: