Windsor Express and Head Coach Bill Jones Prepare for Bounce-Back Season
Perhaps no one was more disappointed with how the Windsor Express’ 2018 –2019 season ended than Head Coach and VP of Basketball Operations Bill Jones. After posting a losing record of 17 -23 and missing the playoffs for the first time in team history, Jones is optimistic about the Express getting back on track from last season’s derailment. The 2019 -2020 regular season for the Express starts at home on Saturday, December 28 against the London Lighting.
“We started last season slow, but as we became more familiar with each other we went on a nice winning streak,” said Jones. “And when I got sick, my assistant took over. We played well in spurts, but before the end of the season, we sort of fell apart.”
With last season in the rearview mirror, Jones is focused on 2019 -2020 and the kind of team he wants on the floor.
“Our team will be fun and entertaining. We have players who have played in this league. And we have some fresh faces. We will play a fast-tempo style of basketball. We want to score over a hundred points per game, while keeping our opponents under one hundred.” – Head Coach Bill Jones
Jones said this season’s team will be built around three returning Express players from a year ago: Chris Jones, Ryan Anderson and Ty Walker. Jones expects to add a blend of young and seasoned talent to complement the nucleus formed by the three returning players.
Among the players, according to Jones, who may fill the bill include Deshaun Thrower, a former Mr. Basketball at Muskegon, Michigan’s Stony Brook High School; Sam Muldrow, who played collegiate ball at the University of South Carolina; Mike Allison, an excellent Canadian pro player; and Derrick Nix, who played four years at Michigan State University under Coach Tom Izzo.
Jones understands that the central goal for this season is for the Express to return to championship form.
“To be able to win championships, we have to be a very good defensive team,” said Jones, who coached the Windsor Express to back-to-back championships in 2013 and 2014. “We want to take away what our opponents do well. We want to make stops, force opponents into turnovers, and rebound their missed shots so we can create opportunities to get out on fast breaks.”
What Jones demands from his players is something that’s innate to his basketball experiences over the past four decades.
A native of Detroit Michigan, Jones, in the early 1980s, was a standout hoopster at Southwestern High School on the city’s west side, where he played for the legendary coach Perry Watson. This past September, Jones was honored for his excellent hardwood play in high school, by being inducted into the Detroit City High School Hall of Fame.
After high school, Jones played four years at the University of Iowa. Seven members of the Big Ten Conference team went on to play in the NBA, which included Jones, B.J. Armstrong, Roy Marble, Kevin Gamble, Brad Lohaus, Ed Horton, and Gerry Wright.
Jones played for the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and CBA’s Quad City Thunder, the latter of which he was the team’s all-time leading scorer. He was also a standout professional player overseas, playing nine seasons in France and Italy.
With an elevated high school, college and pro basketball I.Q. and leadership acumen, Jones coached in the American Basketball Association for four seasons, before he was hired by the Windsor Express. The 2019 -2020 will be Jones’ eighth year as the Express head coach and fourth season as VP of Basketball Operations.
While his achievements as a player and coach are impressive, for Jones, last season’s fall of the Windsor Express left a bitter taste in his mouth.
“This upcoming season is about a bounce back for the team and for me,” Jones said. “And I want a complete bounce back for our fans and organization. Last year we didn’t make the playoffs for the first time. This year, we’re looking forward to having a successful season. Our goal is to win the National Basketball League of Canada championship. First, however, we have to make the playoffs and then go deep to be the last team standing.”