Waking up on a Monday morning can already be a tough task for anyone, but how difficult can it be checking all the relevant box scores from a basketball weekend. You could really spend hours checking every league in Europe, but even if it’s only in Germany, that can take a very long time as well as there are so many leagues. I know I miss many box scores and that became even more relevant as on Monday morning my buddy Joe Asberry who never met a rim he didn’t fancy sent me a box score saying that Drew had an amazing game. My first thought was Drew who? I don’t remember many players with the name Drew that I had dealings with in Germany in the last 20 years. Actually there was one dude named Drew Williamson, but he was retired. At closer inspection of the stat sheet I saw a name that I remembered very well. Andrew Jones (191-SG-1983, college: Miles). Wait a minute Andrew Jones who was a walking bucket for the Dreden Titans six years ago? That was the correct one. I actually thought he had been retired, but supposedly he wasn’t. He had plastered ASC Goettingen in the Regionalliga for an incredible 45 points and 10 three’s. I remember him last playing for the Niners Chemnitz in 2017 and figured he had retired. But no he hadn’t he was still around. ‘I never retired, I just changed to a different style of basketball in 3×3. It was a great opportunity to play and stay in shape. I think the first covid lockdown did it for me. To be restricted from doing everything, changed my mindset. I told myself if I had the opportunity to play 5×5 again I would take it. The past 4 years I worked as a basketball skills trainer. I run a-lot of basketball programs and camps here in Dresden. Early in the season, Koenig Wusterhausen had a few players out with corona. My coach Michael Opitz reached out to me about helping out. I wanted to play until January but I decided to continue for the rest of the season. The good feeling of playing again grew every week’, stressed Andrew Jones.
Jones is a 38 year old 191cm guard playing in his 10th season is a player that I have enjoyed interviewing over the years. When we recently spoke I had to put him on the spot to guess how many interviews we had done. He had no clue, but he knew it had too many. He was totally right. From 2013-2017, it had been 15 interviews. He definitely never said no and I appreciated his zeal for my never short questions. It was obvious that scoring 45 points in the Regionalliga is news. Even a Ricky Easterling who has been the king of the league for more than a decade might have gotten a little jealous after reading that box score. Jones had played in the Regionalliga for Aschersleben, but also had three very productive seasons in the Pro B with the Dresden Titans where he had played 76 games and averaged 18 and 17 points in two seasons definitely knew how to put the ball in the hoop. He scored in double figures in 54 of 76 Pro B games including 38 points against Frankfurt and Leipzig. But if you thought that the 45 point explosion was the best in his career your wrong. The American who played college ball at Miles (NCAA2) is so much more than just a prolific scorer. ‘It is the most points I scored in a game here in Europe. I wouldn’t say it was my best game because I had a few rebounds and few assists. One of my best games was when I had 21 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists and 6 steals back when I played for Dresden. Having an all around game seems more important than scoring many points. But I would score big again if necessary’, stressed Andrew Jones.
The sniper who has Jordan, Lebron, Shaq and Iverson on his personal NBA Mount Rushmore came into the game with a lot of confidence knowing he can go off on them. Coming into the game he had had games of 28 points, 26 points and 25 points and surely wouldn’t have thought he could pull off a 45 point showcase. He actually didn’t have a good feeling when he arrived in the gym. ‘When we came on the court, I saw the basketballs we were playing with and I was not a fan of them. When the game started I shot my first three pointer and it went in. I made the next three in a row and I thought ok, here we go’, stated Andrew Jones. Both teams were shorthanded having only seven guys available. Four of Wusterhausen’s top scorers couldn’t play while ASC Goettingen had four players that averaged in double figures. Statistically they had the advantage. He knew that he had to be extra aggressive and have to pick up the slack for the idle teammates. He knows that being able to hit shots consistently is an art that could allow him to keep playing for a while and has a special routine that allows him to excel at his age. ‘When your younger, you rely off of athleticism. I remember jumping high on my jump shots. Now my lift off the floor is not so high, which gives me more stability in my form. There really is no secret. I try to stay mentally strong, continue to workout and eat healthy. I took some foods out of my eating routine. I don’t eat pork, cow and dairy products. Well, sometimes I need that parmesan cheese’, smiled Andrew Jones. He also never stopped putting in the work in the lab and always is working on perfecting his shot. ‘I usually shoot between 2500 to 3000 three point shots a week. With my shooting machine it takes about 45 mins to get 500 shots off. I think a good shooter will always keep their mechanics and have a skill for making shots’, warned Andrew Jones.
The guard who also gained experience in Spain and Ecuador will turn 39 this year and is playing very well in the Regionalliga. There have been a handful of players like Jones like Rickey Paulding or Ricky Easterling who have played forever. How much longer will he play? ‘I always respect guys who can get it done. Rickey Paulding is definitely player I would have love to have played against. I think the motivation is already there for both of us. I hope Ricky Easterling continues to play, we only got one life. I feel good. At the moment I try to finish the season on a positive note. I will continue to build my skills training and prepare for 3×3 this summer. I can continue playing as long as my body allows it. At the moment, I just enjoy the game’, stressed Andrew Jones. The more he plays, the more opponents he will continue to rack up and over the decade where he has played professionally, he has played with and against many guys. He had no problem naming that one best teammate, but couldn’t find a player other than himself who has been his toughest opponent. ‘I played with many good teammates. But I have to say Ljubisa Markovic as my favorite. He played center on the Aschersleben team with me. He told me to shoot it every time and if I missed he would get the rebound. It’s hard to think about the toughest opponent, I played against so many good players. My toughest opponent was probably myself. My mind was rarely free to enjoy the game and I would put added pressure on myself’, warned Andrew Jones. Recently the incredible and unbelievable feat of 100 points was scored in a German Regionalliga game. Who thought that something like this could be done again after Wilt Chamberlian did it 60 years ago. Paul Braeger did it with his team Vilsbiburg, but it wasn’t without controversy. The opponent Wurzburg had only 5 players and in the second half only 3 players. They played no defense. Vilsbiburg and Braeger got a lot of hate for playing the game. ‘I think he hit 22/34 three pointers. I challenge anybody to go to the nearest basketball court and shoot 34 three pointers and make 22. Jonathan Braeger is in the early years of his career. He is trying to make a name himself. It’s not his fault the team came with 5. As far as the 3 players, I probably would have sat down for being bored. But I’m 38 years old, 26 year old me would probably think differently’, stated Andrew Jones. I hope Andrew Jones will continue to play for many more years. The guy can still play and as long as his shot keeps falling, he will always have a job in the Regionalliga. He may not hit a team for 100 points, but why not shoot for 50 points? That would be an incredible feat in the Regionalliga and something I can see him doing