He is so unlike any other high school basketball player in Central Indiana that some of the plays involving Dawand Jones can cause fans to gasp – or giggle. Like the time in January at Southport Fieldhouse during the Marion County tournament semifinals when Jones moved his left arm to shake a Roncalli defender trying to steal the ball and sent him flying.
When Ben Davis coach Mark James says, “Most people aren’t that big on the basketball floor,” it is an understatement. Jones is 6-8 and 350 pounds. But do not let the size fool you. Jones can move. His footwork and agility, for a player with his size, are incredible.
“There’s no way you can box him out,” said Ben Davis senior Aaron Henry, the team’s top scorer and rebounder. “He’s a huge, huge factor for us. You can’t really play him high side or low side because he’s so big. There’s not much you can do. His shoulders are so wide. The best you can do is hope he misses or foul him.”
Jones always preferred basketball to football growing up, though football might be his future. After taking a break from the sport as a sophomore, he returned to football last season and played right tackle on Ben Davis’ undefeated Class 6A state championship team. He recently picked up his first football offer, from Ball State.
“I like basketball better but I know football will probably get me further in my career,” Jones said. “But if anything comes along in basketball, I’d definitely look at it. I’ve always liked basketball. I was always taught to move around and be ready when the ball comes to you.”
When it comes to him, Jones knows what to do with the ball. He is shooting a staggering 75 percent from the field this season with the bulk of his shots coming from within 5 feet of the rim. Jones is averaging 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game.
“You can’t throw it to him and miss him,” Henry said. “Even if you throw a bad pass, like I’ve thrown to him sometimes, he’s going to catch it regardless.”