Jones checks the signs

Bobby Jones has always been familiar with Bobby Jones. The other Bobby Jones. You know, the former Denver Nugget and Philadelphia 76'er that was all-league around the same time as the greats - like Bill Walton and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. But don't forget the other Bobby Jones - the golfer...or the televangelist. The former UW basketball great knows them all, and more.

That's why it's not surprising to him that he's following the former NBA great to Philadelphia, having been traded to the Sixers after being drafted No. 37 in the 2006 NBA Draft Wednesday night. All he had to do was read the signs.

In his house back in Seattle, team chaplain Mike Rohrbach gave Jones a framed, signed picture of the older Bobby Jones from Philly a few months back, a momento from an auction that went unsold. "He just gave it to me as a gift and I had it in a corner right next to my stack of DVD's, nothing special," Jones said after he was drafted. "But maybe I should have looked at that as a sign that I was going to the Sixers. I guess the signs were there, I just didn't look hard enough. Our pastor was saying how great a player he was and he's a very religious man. Maybe it was a sign from God! I don't know, but it ended up working out.

"Ever since I was young, everybody has always brought to my attention everything that has 'Bobby Jones' on it...I always had to joke about the Sixer, the golfer, the gospel preacher on TV. I believe everything happens for a reason."

Jones should hope God is paying for his cell phone bill, as he has been hearing from teammates, coaches and other well-wishers all throughout the night from his family home in Los Angeles. "I spoke with Coach (Lorenzo) Romar, I've been getting phone calls every other minute from everybody - text messages, phone calls...but it's a great problem to have," Jones said.

The most important phone call came just minutes before Jones' name was going to be announced on ESPN. "Right before they announced my name, my agent (Joel Bell) called me and he had Philadelphia on a three-way (call)," Jones said. "They told me that Minnesota was going to draft me but that they were going trade my rights to them (Philadelphia). I was ecstatic. I've been celebrating ever since.

"I'm happy that someone wanted me. That showed interest and I'm happy to be somewhere where I'm wanted. I heard they like the defensive presence in the position that I play, so I feel like I have a great opportunity to step in and contribute to the team immediately."

It was a bit ironic that both Huskies that were picked - Jones and Brandon Roy - were picked by Minnesota and then eventually traded to other teams. "It was crazy, we were that close to being on the same team - but that's the business aspect of the game," Jones said. "But he's going to be having a little celebration on Friday (in Seattle), so hopefully I'll be able to get back there and celebrate with him.

"That's how it is, you can't fall in love with anybody. If you do, the next day your heart might be broken because they might find a better business proposal to help their team. I'm pretty sure Brandon is happy to be staying close to home in the northwest and I'm just happy to be selected and not have to worry about having to fight to be a free agent. We're both happy with what's going on."

Of the teams Jones went to, it's doubtful he would have put Philadelphia high on the list. Not because he doesn't want to be there, but more because he doesn't know all that much about them. He did not make a trip to the City of Brotherly Love or work out in front of the Sixers coaches at any point during the evaluation process.

"They (draft experts) said the draft was going to be unpredictable, and that's the way it was," Jones said. "I was kind of surprised. Throughout the whole process, my agent never really talked to me about Philadelphia. But once the draft started, he told me that they were trying to get me. They must have done their homework."

Or a little divine intervention.


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