Jones’ record may never be broken

Phill Jones in action for the Tall Blacks against Japan at the world basketball championships in...
Phill Jones in action for the Tall Blacks against Japan at the world basketball championships in Hiroshima in 2006.PHOTO: REUTERS
They say records are made to be broken — although there is one in Dunedin club basketball that will likely never be touched.

If anyone gets within half of Phill Jones’ record for most points in a game this season, which begins today, they will be doing well.

The Tall Black great dropped 105 points for the now-defunct Bowler Celtics in a 172-86 win over the Andy Bay Falcons in 1999.

It included 24/27 from the three-point line — an impressive rate even in a training drill with no defence — to go with 17 rebounds and five assists.

The total beat Euan Lockhart’s previous record of 64 points in a game, although a year later Hayden Allen dropped 72 in one game.

In recent years Benoit Hayman’s 55-point performance for the Mid City Magic in 2018 is closest anyone has got.

Jones, now 47, was in Dunedin playing for the Otago Nuggets and had been training with the side at King’s High School before the game.

"The first play the ball came to me," Jones recalled.

"I turned around, took one dribble and shot it from about 2.5m outside the three-point line and it went straight through.

"The rest was history after that, it just kept going in."

A Nelson Giants stalwart, Jones spent a year in Dunedin after some friends had moved down and he wanted a change.

Certainly he played at much higher levels during an illustrious career.

His 21 points per game at the 2004 Olympics left him as the Games’ second-leading scorer behind Pau Gasol.

He also averaged 18.2 points per game for the 2002 Tall Blacks team which finished fourth at the world championships.

But he admitted the 105-point game remained something he was quietly proud of.

"I don’t really bring it up to be fair, maybe it’s just my personality.

"Every now and again it comes up in conversation from other people and I talk about it and tell them what happened.

"It is a pretty cool thing.

"If you can score 100 points, it’d be pretty tough to do in any game."

Jones still plays at club level and was part of the team that won the Nelson premier competition last year.

He also coaches a lot and now has three children who play.

Alongside that he works at ANZ bank, while also being lined up to do some commentary during this year’s NBL.

It a very different game he will be commentating now to the one he played that night 22 years ago.

"The game’s changed heaps since we were playing back then.

"Could I score 100 points in a competition on the same night?

"Maybe, some of the shots I was making were pretty out of it.

"But I think basketball’s changed a lot, it’s a different game, it’s much quicker and faster.

"I think it would be tougher now."

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