Former NBA journeyman Ronald “Popeye” Jones has a son who is projected to be a top-three prospect in the 2013 NHL Draft, according to CSNWashington.com:
“I guess when you sit back and think about it, it is odd for a professional basketball player’s son to play hockey at such a high level,” Popeye Jones said in a phone interview with CSNWashington.com.
The elder Jones, who retired in 2004 after 11 years in the NBA, is now an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. He had perhaps his best season in 1995-96 as a forward with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 11.3 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.
His son, Seth, a 6-foot-4, 205-pound defenseman, is not only a projected top-three pick in next years draft, but at 17-years-old, he is also USA Hockey’s top underage prospect. If he is selected first overall in the draft, he would become the first African-American in NHL history to do so.
Jones Sr. said his son began playing organized sports when he was five-years old. The family had moved to Colorado because Jones began playing for the Denver Nuggets in 1999, and the Colorado Avalanche were the best team in the region so it was only a matter of time before Seth was on skates, he said:
“I ran into Joe Sakic down at the arena and I just asked him about the game,” Popeye said. “He didn’t know who I was and I just kind of asked him for advice with my kids wanting to play hockey and he just looked at me and said ‘from the looks of things your kids are going to be huge. You just need to make sure that they can skate.’
Seth led the team to a gold medal as captain of USA Hockey’s under-18 team. He will also represent America at the 2013 World Junior Championships in Russia in December.