Kolby Jones has had a busy month.
The Grade 12 student at Charles Hays Secondary School (CHSS) will compete in the zone championships with the senior boys basketball team, just one week after coming within 14 points of the intermediate division title with his Prince Rupert Synergy Storm at the All Native Basketball Tournament (ANBT).
But Jones wouldn’t trade that busyness for anything. A love for basketball has always been in his blood. Both his mother and his aunt are Hall of Famers in the ANBT, and he has always aspired to be like them.
“I’ve always loved basketball since Grade 3. I’ve been pushing myself to be as good as my aunty and my mom one day. That drive has just pushed me to be passionate about basketball,” Jones said, in what became a suddenly near-empty civic centre overnight after ANBT wrapped up.
Jones’ first taste of All Native came in 2013 when he played a year for the Skidegate Saints, and has been on the Prince Rupert Synergy Storm since. This year was his best finish in the tournament, when his team fell to Port Simpson in the final.
“This past week has been crazy. It’s been busy, it’s been fun, just at the All Native, seeing all my family and friends and playing basketball. It’s a lot of fun,” Jones said.
The Prince Rupert native also played in the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament last year, when his team came third. He plans to go again this year, which will be the last year he can play.
Just being a part of the historic tournament means a lot to him.
“Coming from a family of All Native basketball players like my aunty and my mom, both Hall of Fame players, it feels good to carry on that legacy,” he said.
It’s clear Jones lives and breathes basketball. This weekend, he and the Rainmakers, some of which he played with and against during All Native, will try to win the NorthWest Zone title and clinch a trip to provincials in Langley.
After finishing 16th last year, the shooting guard is confident this year will be better.
“I think we have a really good chance of going far at provincials. We have a strong team this year, really deep. We can run 13 guys deep if we need to,” Jones said.
Being a part of the Rainmakers is an honour as well for him. He recognizes the great players who have worn the jersey before him and he said he is honoured to represent the Rainmakers and Mel and Ryan Bishop. But his favourite part of the high school team is the guys.
“I just like being a part of the team and having everyone always there for each other. It’s kind of like a brotherhood,” he said.
Reflecting on what it is he loves about basketball so much, he’s quick to cite the feeling of community in Prince Rupert.
“Basketball brings everyone together, whether the All Native tournament or high school basketball,” Jones said.
He hopes he hasn’t hit his ceiling yet either, because Jones has dreams of pursuing basketball after he graduates this spring.
Although he doesn’t have a school lined up yet or know exactly what the future holds, he is sure he wants it to include competitive basketball.
The fast-paced sport has taught him a lot since Grade 3, but the biggest lesson has been unity.
“Through my teammates and my friends on the team, as well as my coaches, it has taught us to stay together and work as a team at all times.”