Veteran shooting guard Phill Jones has retired from international basketball after 14 years in the NZ Tall Blacks.
Jones (34), who debuted in 1994, has made him-self unavailable for the national squad to be named this week as coach Nenad Vucinic faces the task of rebuilding the New Zealand roster towards the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
His withdrawal means at least five of the 12-man squad that faced Australia in last year’s FIBA Oceania Championships will not take the court in 2008. He joins point guards Mark Dickel and Paul Henare, forward Dillon Boucher and centre Tony Rampton on the sidelines.
Jones’ career highlights have mirrored the greatest moments of Tall Black basketball over the past decade. With longtime ally Pero Cameron, he was their leading scorer (16.7 points) when they upset Australia to qualify for the 2002 FIBA World Championships in Indianapolis and once there, averaged 18.2 points, shooting 41.7% 3pt, to guide them to the bronze medal game.
Perhaps his crowning achievement was the 33-point (6/8 3pt) outburst that dragged New Zealand out of a 20-point hole against China and into the quarterfinals of that tournament.
Jones ranked second among all scorers two years later at the Athens Olympics, averaging 21.0 points, and was again on fire, 28 points, 8/16 3pt, as the Tall Blacks inflicted their biggest ever defeat on the Boomers (72-53) in Napier, July 2006.
Even as he was relegated to bench status last year, he produced a 17-point/12-rebound double in the Kiwis’ 67-58 win over Australia in Brisbane, a performance that will now go down as a fitting finale for one of the legends of NZ basketball.
Jones will now have more time to spend with wife Kat and their young family, between playing commitments with the CPS Nelson Giants and the Harvey Norman NZ Breakers.
source: newshub archive