Kemper Jones, Canyon basketball, Sr.
On the court: In his fourth season on Canyon’s varsity, Jones has the type of postseason experience most other players can only dream about by the time they become seniors. The 6-foot-6 Jones came up big as expected as Canyon, ranked No. 8 in the state in Class 4A, opened the playoffs with a pair of decisive wins last week. The Eagles faced Monahans in the bidistrict round to open the postseason and started slowly. However, they began to rally in the second quarter and behind Jones, took off in the second half for a 51-35 victory. Jones led the way with a game-high 21 points. In the area round game against El Paso Bowie, Canyon got off to a much better start, with Jones again the catalyst. He scored all 15 of his points in the first half and sat the entire second half in a 63-23 victory. Jones leads the Eagles by averaging over 14 points a game as he and the Eagles have gone at least as far as the region quarterfinals for the third straight season.
Coach Travis Schulte: “Without question just being a four-year varsity guy with all the playoff experience in the world, he’s been a leading scorer for us for all of those years. Even though we have other guys who can do it, he’s just super comfortable with the ball in his hands. The deeper we get into the playoffs the more he’s starting to hone in on his shot and trying to be a playmaker for us. We started slow (against Monahans) and it looked like we had a little of the playoff jitters maybe and Kemp got us rolling. He hit some threes and got to the rim several times. That’s just who he is. Part of the matchup problem with him is we have two other 6-7 guys underneath and anybody with any size has to go guard them. That puts a matchup strain on some guys. When you’re a senior and it’s your last go at it, it’s a little easier to pull the trigger.”
Jones: “In our first game against Monahans I don’t think any of us played particularly well. That game prepared us for the rest of the playoffs and I think we’re on a roll right now. All the seniors are coming with me. (Monahans) would not miss a shot in the first quarter. In the second half we got our butts chewed and we just realized we had a height advantage and we needed to use it. When we don’t have any flow I figure the best thing we can do is give me the ball but if we’re all playing together it doesn’t matter who gets the ball. It’s a much higher intensity and we just bring so much more focus to every game. It’s win or go home at this point. It’s kind of like my senioritis is kicking in a little bit. I’m nervous but not like I used to be. It feels like we’re sending a good message to our team.”
Favorite band or musician: Says he doesn’t follow current popular music.
Favorite social media platform: Instagram
Favorite athlete: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Bet you didn’t know: Used to play the violin.
Parents: Brandon and Mindy Jones