We lost a Houston basketball legend yesterday, as Dwight Jones passed away, according to multiple reports. He was 64 years old.
A decade before the Phi Slamma Jamma super-team that featured Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, Jones was chopping up teams for U of H and led them to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances. People tend to forget that Houston was a top-notch college basketball program in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, and Jones was a clear standout.
Jones played for the 1972 USA men's basketball team that was robbed of a gold medal in a controversial last-second buzzer beater versus Russia in the 1972 Olympics, and was the co-leading scorer for the team. Thankfully, we got our revenge in Rocky IV. Never forget.
He spent 10 years in the NBA, playing for the Atlanta Hawks as their No. 9 pick in the 1973 NBA Draft, and then for the Houston Rockets from 1976-1979 before spending time with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers.
"Dwight was a tremendous competitor, who represented the University of Houston and his nation well during his playing career," Houston head coach, and former Rockets assistant, Kelvin Sampson said in a statement. "While his health declined in recent years, he faced those challenges with the same courage and spirit that made him one of our program’s greats. Tonight, our hearts go out to Dwight’s family and friends and all those who knew and loved him,"
Jones came to the Rockets by way of trade. The Rockets shipped out Gus Bailey, Joe Meriweather and the draft pick that became Armond Hill for Jones and the pick that became John Lucas. In Jones' best year in Houston, he average 10.6 points and 7.8 rebounds a game on a team that somehow went 28-54 with him, young Lucas and Moses Malone, plus prime Calvin Murphy and Rudy Tomjanovich. Maybe our older readers can explain how that stacked squad lost so many games.
R.I.P. to a Houston legend.