Wind: 3 m/h
In what has been a poorly guarded secret this weekend, Mike Young and Virginia Tech made a home run hire today as the Hokie basketball program named DeMatha head coach Mike Jones as associate head coach to fill the vacancy left by departing coach Chester Frazier.
Word had spilled out over the weekend that he would soon be a Hokie assistant, but Dematha pushed back on those reports. Today, Jones and the school officially announced he was leaving and heading to Blacksburg.
What makes this such an impressive hire for Young and the Hokies is Jones’ recruiting connections. Frazier had been a major factor in his ability to scout and persuade prospects to come to Blacksburg, something that helped the program make a quick turnaround from when Buzz Williams left for Texas A&M. They needed to find someone of equal ability to replace him.
"Virginia Tech is first and foremost getting a great person who not only fits our program, but embodies what our University is about," Young said in a statement released by Virginia Tech. "Mike Jones is a tremendous basketball coach, who brings a wealth of success from DeMatha and USA Basketball. I have had the privilege of watching Mike over the years and have continually been impressed with his ability to teach the game of basketball and mentor players. We are excited to add him to our family and look forward to continuing on what we have built over the past two seasons."
Jones has been the head coach at DeMatha since the 2002-2003 season, where a number of major college prospects have passed through. He currently has five former players in the NBA, including 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz, and also has extensive ties to USA basketball. He was set to serve as the 2021 USA Men’s U16 National Team head coach, but withdrew Monday from that position after accepting the Virginia Tech job.
His resume is filled with accolades, as he was named a co-recipient of the 2019 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year award. He led the 2019 USA Basketball Men's U16 National Team to a gold medal at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Brazil, was a lead coach at the 2019 USA Men's Junior National Team July minicamp and was a court coach at the 2019 USA Men's Junior National Team October minicamp.
Additionally, Jones has served as head coach of the USA Nike Hoop Summit Team three times, in 2013, 2014 and 2018, and he served as the USA's Hoop Summit assistant coach in 2012 and 2017.
"I am extremely excited to be joining Coach Young, his staff and Hokie Nation," Jones said in a statement from Virginia Tech. "This is a tremendous opportunity to learn from a great coach in Coach Young and to provide our student-athletes with a passionate coach who is fired up about joining the Virginia Tech community and ready to continue the upward trajectory of our men's basketball program. I'm very honored to have received such a warm welcome through texts, calls and social media from many who don't even know me. I can already tell this place is special."
While having a stellar background that lends itself to recruiting, Jones also knows basketball. In his 20 years at DeMatha he has a 511-119 record, for a winning percentage of .811. He was a standout player at Old Dominion from 1991 to 1995, and played professionally overseas for several years after that.
He appears to be a perfect fit for what Young and the Hokies need. He’s played collegiately in the state. He has relationships with just about everyone involved in youth basketball not only in the DC region, but nationally through his work with USA Basketball. And you don’t win 81 percent of your games over 19 years without a thorough understanding of every aspect of basketball. This has also apparently been in the works for some time, as The Washington Post said in its story today Jones was offered the job May 5. Frazier didn't announce he was going to Illinois until May 6.
When Frazier left, I will admit I was concerned Young would find a successor as good, because lighting doesn’t strike twice in the same spot.
With today’s news, turns out I had noting to worry about. At all.