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YouTube Gold: Sam Jones

One of the finest players to ever come out of the state of North Carolina

Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers, 1965 NBA Eastern Division Finals
Basketball NBA Playoffs: Boston Celtics Sam Jones (24) in action vs Philadelphia 76ers. at Boston Garden. Game 7. Boston, MA 4/15/1965
Set Number: X10705 F14

In the late 1950s, Bones McKinney, who had played for Red Auerbach with the Washington Capitols and also the Boston Celtics, called his old coach and told him there was a player at North Carolina College (now NCCU) who had “the damndest bank shot” he’d ever seen and thought Auerbach should know about him.

Obviously he agreed; Boston took Jones with the eighth pick of the 1957 draft. He joined Bill Russell, KC Jones and Tom Heinsohn, who had all been drafted the year before. Toss in Boston’s already potent backcourt of Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman, and the Celtics were set up for a long run of championships.

When you watch this video, you’ll see that McKinney was right about the bank shot: it was superb.

But what you’ll also see is a game in transition. As Davidson’s Bob McKillop has said, it’s a game of deception. There is a certain amount of old school - set shots that would now be three pointers, a very different style of foul shots - but you’ll also see that Boston was unbelievably ahead of its time. Both Joneses were supremely athletic and John Havlicek, who came a bit later, was too.

But watch Jones. He had a brilliant shot and he shot on the run a fair amount too.