Saturday, March 15, 2014

Wil Jones, flamboyant UDC basketball coach, dies at 75

VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia  -- Wil Jones, an undersized star in the big man’s game of basketball who set scoring records at Dunbar High School and American University and who, as the flamboyant coach at the University of the District of Columbia, led his team to a national championship, died March 12 at a hospital in Virginia Beach. He was 75.

The cause was cancer, his son, William Jones II, said.

Known as Willie Jones when he played in high school and college, Mr. Jones was a 5-foot-9 dynamo on the court and on D.C. playgrounds, where he gleefully took on anyone with the audacity to challenge him.

In the mid-1950s, he was one of the first players in Washington to make regular use of the jump shot, and he is considered one of the finest pure shooters in the city’s storied basketball history. He was a trash talker before anyone invented the term, backing up his taunts with an unstoppable array of hook shots, jump shots and lightning-fast drives to the basket.


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