'Sport just runs in my veins': getting to know Manchester basketball star Callum Jones
- We catch up with Callum Jones on his childhood and future goals as he returns to the Manchester Giants
- 'There were a lot of one-on-one battles in those back gardens...lots of scratching, near fights - sometimes fights'
- Jones grew up with brother in a basketball family
Manchester Giants legend Callum Jones announced his return to the club this week as he enters his twelfth season in the British Basketball League (BBL).
The former England international guard is returning to the Belle Vue-based club after a season away where he suited up for the Sheffield Sharks.
Jones, the Giants' all-time leading point scorer, looks to add further experience to the Giants' locker-room - which has already been bolstered by the addition of GB captain Dan Clark.
As well as playing, Jones has had over a decade of experience coaching at the AASE (Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence) academies at university level and is the current first team coach at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).
I managed to catch up with him after the MMU basketball trials at their Platt Lane Sports Complex where many hoped to impress and begin their MMU basketball careers. With regard to this, I decided to ask Callum where basketball started for him.
Where did it all begin?
"Yeah so, my dad, he started off the whole family playing basketball, [including] my brother and my sister. He played professionally for a number of years, [he] came over from America, so some of my earliest memories are following him to basketball training and trying to shoot a hoop."
What was it like growing up in a basketball family?
"It was good. Mum and Dad created a kind of half court in the back garden. Me and my brother are quite close in age [with] only two years between us: there were a lot of one-on-one battles in those back gardens, and lots of scratching, you know, near fights - sometimes fights - but at the end of the day it helped us all push forward and move on with our careers."
Outside of your family, was there an inspiration on the professional level?
"I think for so many people my age Michael Jordan is the obvious one. Obviously he was just an absolute standout [with] the things that he did on the court, his competitive nature and all of those things. I take inspiration from a lot of different professionals, even outside of basketball. I used to love Ryan Giggs as a footballer - he was one of my idols as well. [There's] something about the discipline and trying to squeeze the most out of your potential."
What are your goals or the next steps once you finish playing professionally?
"Definitely still stay involved at the university, try and push forward in terms of our club offer and also the scholarship programme I oversee. I really enjoy working with younger athletes and trying to help them through their journeys and some of the challenges that they have - I try to help them be successful as people not only as athletes. Then, potentially I'm thinking about starting a sports agency to sort of extend that type of work that I do.
I think I'll have to stay in sport - it just runs in my veins."
With the return of university basketball, Jones is poised to continue to drive forward the successful programme he has helped develop during his tenure at MMU, while fans are sure to be excited about the return of their all-time highest point scorer as he continues to add his experience and expertise to the Manchester basketball community.