MEN’S BASKETBALL: Staying local: Jones, Wesley heading just south to Lamar State

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Kenneth Coleman opened the signing ceremony for Port Arthur Memorial standouts Jamyus Jones and Thailan Wesley giving a 10-minute speech to their fellow students about life, basketball and Port Arthur.

“If you’re not trying to get where we want to be, then you need to hit the door,” Coleman said about his coaching philosophy, adding he took the Memorial head coaching job almost three years ago knowing the type of players that were coming through the school.

More than a month after the Titans brought the city its first state basketball championship in 23 years, Jones and Wesley became the first players from the team this year to sign with a college program when they officially committed to Lamar State College Port Arthur on Tuesday.

Lamar State coach Lance Madison gave Jones and Wesley, two of the Titans’ leading scorers, high praise in calling them “superstars.”

“It makes me want to work harder,” Wesley said.

Madison is confident signing two Memorial players will help bolster the Seahawks’ attendance for the 2018-19 season, along with the return of fellow Port Arthuran Tevin Baker, who graduated from Kelly last year. Wesley, who led the Titans in scoring with 24 points per game, and Jones, who averaged 16 points and four assists per game, are the second and third players from Jefferson County the Seahawks landed for next season, following Beaumont Central’s Byron Arceneaux.

“I think junior college will help me grow more and become a better player,” Wesley said.

Lamar State then signed its eighth recruit for next season in 6-foot-11 post Jaden Edward of Lafayette, Louisiana. Two publications have Edward ranked 40th in the state.

Jones, a 6-foot point guard, said he was certain during the recruiting phase he would join the Seahawks.

“I really wasn’t hearing from too many colleges except Division III colleges,” Jones said.

Madison said he gave the two Titans the “superstars” label because of the mental toughness they exuded in winning the 5A state title.

“They have the daily work ethic, and I really think they can score the basketball. It comes easy to them,” Madison said. “Port Arthur kids are so mentally tough. They play with the chip on their shoulder.”

I.C. Murrell: 721-2435. Twitter: @ICMurrellPANews


About I.C. Murrell

I.C. Murrell was promoted to editor of The News, effective Oct. 14, 2019. He previously served as sports editor since August 2015 and has won or shared eight first-place awards from state newspaper associations and corporations. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, grew up mostly in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and graduated from the University of Arkansas at Monticello.

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