Standing at a towering 6-feet, 9-inches, Darian DeAndre Jones is a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court.
Jones, better known as “DJ,” has a total of 35 blocks, 115 rebounds, and 22 steals as the season draws to a close for FAMU.
Before The Hill became his home, Jones resided in Brusly, Louisiana, graduated from Brusly High School and began college at Tulane University in New Orleans.
Jones was raised by his mother and father, David and Dana Jones, who maintained a strong Christian belief in their home. To this day when he is faced with a tough challenge, Jones goes to “God first” and then his “parents for guidance.”
While family motivates Jones on and off the court, when he is in game mode his older brother Damian is his motivation. Damian Jones plays for the Golden State Warriors.
The idea of being unsuccessful is a driving factor for Jones off the court. His relentlessness and refusal to quit no matter how daunting the task, are what Jones calls his greatest strengths. Dwelling on mistakes can be seen as a weakness, he said.
When asked what his favorite quote was to get him through the daily struggles of life, Jones replied: “Don’t worry about anything, instead pray about everything.”
As with many FAMU students, classes and college overall can at times be overbearing. In this aspect Jones, an interdisciplinary studies major, is no different.
He was able to recount a time when he wasn’t doing so well in a class and it affected him negatively. Through advice from his mother, encouragement from his teammates and the coaching staff, as well as extra study hours, he was able to turn the situation into a positive.
“College was exactly what I expected it to be. Just a bigger version of high school really with more independence,” he said.
Jones was adamant about clearing up the misconception that he is mean and unapproachable. He believes his peers attribute those adjectives to him because when he walks around campus, it is usually with a straight face. He said he tends to be in deep thought or just daydreaming.
Bryce Moragne, one of Jones’ teammates and closest friends, understands how the misperception can take root.
“My first impression of DJ was that he didn’t leave a lasting impression. I just remembered him because he was tall and skinny. Now I see him as a person who is easy to talk to and very understanding but is also very goofy.”
His mother mentioned that her opinion of him may be a little biased but she views Jones as “one of the most caring and loving human beings that I know.”
She added: “Because you don’t express yourself openly people tend to judge you as a passive person,” but “you are a young man who is respectful, self-controlled, compassionate and determined.”