Its around this time every year that Jadee Jones relives the magic in his mind that took place right in front of his eyes four years ago.
And he still cant believe it.[County Shuts Barn Door After Milking Its Tax Cash Cow Dry]
Jones had watched the Final Four, and the ensuing national championship game, on television for years and soaked in the massive spectacle from afar.
But in 2015, he was sitting just a few rows away from it all, watching his younger brother, Tyus, shine brightest on center stage.[Whats New In TypeScript 34]
(It) was like we were watching a movie and not real life, Jadee said. Thinking back, I cant believe thats how it went down.
Tyus has surprised Jadee at every level. Jadee saw how skilled his little brother was at a young age, but always assumed there would come a day when reality is going to hit him.[Trump Threatens To Shut Mexico Border Again]
And he would shine at every stage — Team USA tryouts, gold medal games, Jadee said, all the way to the national championship. He always surprised me, even though I probably shouldnt have been surprised.
Not with Tyus track record. He won a state title with Apple Valley, won ESPNs AAU title with Howard Pulley, won gold medals with Team USA. You name it, he did it.[Dodgers8217 Offense Explodes Again In Rout Of Diamondbacks]
We just knew what he was capable of because we have seen it many times before, said Tyus mom, Debbie Jones.
Still, this was the national title game — as Duke squared off with Wisconsin. The Badgers had just slayed a previously unbeaten Kentucky team that featured Karl-Anthony Towns and many other soon-to-be NBA standouts. Led by the likes of future NBAers Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, Wisconsin had a talented, cohesive core. But Duke had fab freshmen Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Jones.[Nine Year Old Girls Filmed Jumping On Cars And Spitting At Security Guard During Vile 90 Minute Tirade At Shopping Centre]
The former two were more touted prospects who would go much earlier in that summers NBA draft. But Jones was Dukes go-to guy when the stakes were highest. Quinn Cook, Jones backcourt mate at Duke, has the receipts.
Go look at the big games we played in, said Cook, now a reserve for Golden State. At Wisconsin, Carolina twice, at (Virginia). He (took over) the entire year. He was very consistent. He had a knack for making the big shot, stepping up in those big games.[Watch This Magician8217s Take On The Thumb Trick Will Leave Your Jaw On The Floor]
Duke needed it in the title game. Jones scored six points in the first four minutes of the second half to keep the Blue Devils within reach. Still, Wisconsin led by nine with 13 minutes to play.
Grayson Allen scored Dukes next eight points to close the gap to four. Then it was time for Jones to take over.[Driver Faces Manslaughter Charge After The Death Of A Woman ]
Trailing by two with just more than four minutes left, Jones buried a triple to put the Blue Devils on top for the first time all half. Nearly three minutes later he took nearly the same shot — coming off a screen at the top of the arc — and drilled it again, this time to put Duke up eight, all-but sealing the national title. It was the same type of shot Debbie Jones had watched her son practice hundreds of times in the past.
He hit those shots in high school and college, she said, but to do it on that stage made it extra special.[Drew Doughty8217s OT Goal Lifts Kings Past Chicago]
As Jones hit the shot, he dropped his hands to his side and roared as he looked out into the crowd and made direct eye contact with Jadee.
Im making the same face, the same reaction, going nuts, screaming, Jadee said. Just a natural reaction, but yeah, I was screaming right back at him.[Nasa8217s Latest Video Of Saturn Might Be Its Most Exciting Yet]
Photographer Greg Nelson captured the moment when the two brothers seemed to lock eyes.
That photo captured everything, Debbie said. What a memory, and truly priceless.[Trump Plans To Cut Aid To 3 Central American Countries As Fight Widens Over US Bound Migrants]
The photo appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated the following week.
In that moment, Jones finally let himself come to the realization that his dream was coming true.[Lorry Ploughs Into Crowd In Guatemala And Kills 18 8216roadside Ghouls8217 Gawping At Dead Car Crash Victim]
I was thinking We just won the national championship. We just accomplished what our goal was from summer school workouts, conditioning workouts, all the hours in the weight room, lifting and all that, Jones said. I was just thinking we were able to say, We did it.
The freshman guard scored 13 of Dukes final 21 points, including a pair of free throws that truly iced the game in the final minute. It all culminated in Jones earning the distinction of the Final Fours Most Outstanding Player.
What he was able to accomplish throughout the season and in the NCAA tournament was just incredible, Debbie said. He never ceases to amaze me how he rises to the occasion at every level. For him to do what he did was just a tribute to his preparation and competitiveness. He is a winner.[Off Duty Cook County Investigator Fatally Struck In Chicago Ridge]
Debbie Jones called the entire NCAA tournament incredible, from the experiences to the emotions.
She made a point to arrive at sites early so they could take in the sights and watch arenas fill up before games. She loved getting to share it all with the Duke families and fans that got to know each other so well throughout the season.[Senate GOP Wary In Trump8217s Revived Health Care Battle]
But maybe the most memorable moments came in the hours after the national title. People gathered in the streets for blocks outside of the hotel.
Debbie gets tears and goosebumps recalling the scene, as former Duke players, alumni and fans embraced and celebrated for hours.[Watch This Mesmerizing Animation That Shows How Quickly Couples Move Through Relationship Stages]
Eventually, the family sneaked Tyus into a service elevator to return to the hotel room for the family to decompress. Only then did the nights events truly sink in.
It is a lifetime memory, Debbie said.[Investigation Underway After Officer Shot In North Miami Police]
Jadee said it was a dream of Tyus to be a one-and-done player who left for the NBA draft after his freshman season, but it wasnt something Jones was actively pursuing.
The family didnt discuss the draft much during the season, instead choosing to wait until all of the information was in front of it.[Tyus Jones8217 Legendary Final Four Run With Duke 8216changed My Life Big Time8217]
All year at Duke it wasnt talked about, because I think Duke is such a good place to be, there was no rush to get out of there, Jadee said. Once the next level was ready to accept him, he would go. But until then, he was in a good spot and didnt need to worry about having to get out of there, having to extract as much value as possible. The longer youre with Coach K and Duke, the better.
Debbie said Tyus final month of the season, including his tournament performance, is what led to the decision to enter the draft.[Barricaded Suspect With Knife In Miami Beach In Custody PD]
His stock was never going to be higher than after that championship, she said.
The run he went on, he was so ready for that stage. And being fortunate enough to have that stage that he did and the coaching staff that he did, everything aligned to where he was able to show his highest value in those moments, Jadee said. Being able to keep calm, make the right decisions and deliver is really what he does best. He got the ultimate opportunity to do that, and he didnt need a second chance.[Manhattan Tolls Plastic Bag Ban Poised For Approval In NY]
Tyus entered the NBA draft and was selected 24th overall by Cleveland as part of a draft-night deal that sent him to his hometown Timberwolves.
To this day, Jones is still signing those Sports Illustrated covers for fans.[Mark Zuckerberg Says The Internet Needs A More Active Role For Regulators]
The memory of that Final Four run, and his championship performance, wont soon be forgotten. To this day, Tyus is often still referred to as Tyus Stones, which even then-President Barack Obama used when Duke visited the White House.
It changed my life big time, Jones said. Just being recognized, obviously winning it at such a prestigious place like Duke with the fan base that we have they show a lot of love. It changed my life, and Im forever thankful for it and very fortunate for it.[Do Drivers Consider Cyclists To Be Fully Human]
Debbie made many trips back to Durham this year to watch Tyus younger brother, Tre Jones, Dukes current starting point guard who has the Blue Devils in Sundays Elite Eight game against Michigan State.
The focus at this point on campus is entirely on Tre, but Debbie noted its fun to see memorabilia from Tyus time with the school, and she admitted Tyus’ name comes up often when I make those trips, and it is fun to reminisce about those experiences.[Whicker Red Raiders8217 Defensive Hands Deal Gonzaga A Tech Nical Knockout]
Years later, Jadee fully appreciates the scope of that run and what it meant for his brother to be the hero on one of Americas grandest stages in sports. Its one thing for a guy like Carmelo Anthony, who had all the physical tools in the world and went on to be one of the NBAs great scorers, to have that type of moment at Syracuse.
For a 6-foot-1 kid from Apple Valley to do the same is quite another.[EGX Rezzed 2019 Join Us At The RPS Mixer In Association With Fishing Cactus]
All the way around, it seems like someone else wrote the script, Jadee said, as opposed to it unfolding like that in real life.
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