Day of the ‘Condor’ Marked Jones’ Return
Standing 6 feet, 6 inches tall, with an arm span of nearly 7 feet, Dana Jones of North Hollywood High has the appropriate nickname of Condor.
But after being grounded for 5 games because of a damaged left wing (sprained wrist), several people questioned the Condor’s flight condition before a Valley Pac-8 Conference opener against Grant on Friday.
Would he be able to soar like before?
The answer was a resounding yes as Jones swooped for 19 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, 7 blocked shots and 5 steals in the Huskies’ 67-57 victory over the Lancers, ranked fifth in The Times Valley Poll.
“I was really looking forward to that game,” Jones said. “I really wanted to come back and help the team start winning.”
“He was probably only 80%,” North Hollywood Coach Steve Miller said. “But Dana’s the type of player who makes everyone else play better. . . . He just seems to bring out the best in his teammates.”
Jones was particularly impressive in the second quarter when he hit all 6 of his field-goal attempts and helped North Hollywood extend a 12-point first-quarter lead to a 36-18 advantage at halftime.
Wearing an Ace bandage to protect his wrist, the junior made 8 of 10 field-goal attempts and has hit 65.6% (42 of 64) of his shots this season.
“My shot felt a little awkward when I was practicing during the week,” Jones said. “But I think it really came back that night. . . . The wrist felt like it was close to 100%. It didn’t give me any problems, except on free throws.”
Foul shooting is Jones’ weakness. He made 3 of 7 against Grant and has hit only 11 of 24 (45.8%) this season. However his strengths make him irreplaceable in the Huskies’ lineup.
“We’re a completely different team without him,” Miller said. “He’s just such an integral part of our offense and defense.”
Statistics support Miller’s claim.
After Jones suffered a severe wrist sprain in a 69-67 loss to Gardena in the fourth game of the season, the Huskies (6-4) struggled to a 2-3 mark in the North Hollywood and Bell-Jeff tournaments. Without him, North Hollywood was outscored by an average of 66-60.
With Jones in the lineup, the Huskies are 4-1 and have outscored opponents by an average of 72-59.
Sporting averages of 19 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 3 steals and 5.6 blocked shots a game, the Condor is again soaring high.