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Former Southern Miss basketball star quits pro ball to help make an impact on kid's lives

ELLISVILLE, Miss. - A ton of basketball players have hoop dreams to play professionally, but one former Southern Miss star realized that pro basketball wasn't something he wanted to do.

Dr. Samuel Jones, JCJC's vice president of student affairs said, "I actually found me a job in Finland and I did that for a year. I've always seen myself as more than just an athlete and I knew I had some other gifts, but I really didn't know how to bring those to the surface. But eventually when I came back from Finland, there was that deep burning call of you have something more in you."

After a couple of odd jobs, Jones served as an assistant coach for JCJC’s men's basketball team for a year.

"And so after basketball, I became the assistant dean for student affairs and those roles really helped me feed that niche of trying to help other people find their opportunities and find some great things that they can learn how to do in life, said Jones."

From there, Jones decided to go back to school, where he received his Master's degree and his PHD.

Jones said "I had no idea how I would make that come to pass and I think that's the power we all have, that we can change who we want to be in life."

Jones then became JCJC’s vice president of student affairs and also started his own motivational speaking business called "Life Changing Presentations.”

Jones said "I had a major stuttering problem. I couldn't really stand before a group of people and speak. I learned that it was really from a couple of reasons. Number one, the lack of confidence I had in my ability. And number two, the fact that I wouldn't breathe when I'm speaking."

Jones has traveled across the country encouraging people to be a difference in their respected communities.

"The main thing is trying to give people a bigger vision for their lives. Sometimes they just don't believe in themselves and that's a struggle. I try to help people believe in themselves, try to give people strategies that they can do every single day that will help them build confidence in who they are and then not only that, but give them the skills to go and put those things into action, said Jones."

Jones plans to be in Gulfport on Sunday where he will be talking to the congregation of Grace Temple.



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