In his glory days: Reuben Jones

Before pursuing a career in education, DBHS’ principal was a walk-on for Cal Poly Pomona’s basketball team, playing for two years.


Calvin Ru

Principal Reuben Jones made the varsity team his junior year after being recruited by the basketball coach at the time.

Emily Jacobsson, A&E Editor

Even though he knew he was working toward a career in education, future Diamond Bar High School principal Reuben Jones found time in  his busy schedule as both a student and a student teacher to play the sport he loved and lead Cal Poly Pomona’s basketball team.

At four years old, Jones knew little about basketball except that he had fun playing it with his friends. Though he also played baseball and football growing up, he decided that he had the most success in basketball, leading him to commit to the sport in his freshman year at John Muir High School in Pasadena.

“Basketball was just something that sometimes you and your friends that you grow up with all like to play. For the most part it just was fun,” Jones said.

Jones made the varsity team his junior year, which was when he was recruited by GLC Kevin Patterson, who at that time was the basketball coach at Cal Poly Pomona. However, in his senior year Jones suffered an injury that seemed to end his chances of playing beyond high school. He attended Cal Poly Pomona with the intent of strictly studying business marketing.

The sport he had always loved found a way back to him during his second year of college in 1992. After speaking with the coaches and players on the team, he was encouraged to become a walk-on player. Jones previously played as a guard or a forward, but would play any position the team needed as a walk-on.

“I loved to play, it didn’t matter what position as long as I was playing.”

However, playing as a walk-on soon proved to be difficult. Jones was part of the team and attended practices and workouts just as the other players did, but he often did not play games or travel.

“Just enduring those two years gave me a lot of perseverance and helped me understand the value of hard work. If you keep working hard at some point it will pay off so it was a great life lesson to start my junior year and to become captain and to be a decent contributor to the team. It was a great success to look back on now,” Jones said.

Quickly becoming an important part of the team, Jones earned a scholarship to continue playing basketball during his third year and became a captain in 1996.

During his last year playing for Cal Poly Pomona, Jones was also a student teacher at DBHS. It was often difficult for him to manage his schedule during that time, as he was required to ask for permission to miss several days to play in tournaments.

Jones was selected as Defensive Player of the Year during college as well as honorable mention for best players in the California Collegiate Athletic Association. However, Jones stresses the value of a good team over the importance of awards.

“I’m not too big on awards. Personality wise I’ve always liked teams. We didn’t win any championships so the team atmosphere stands out as most important.”

Though he looks back fondly on his time playing basketball, Jones’s career with the sport ended after college, deciding it wasn’t worth pursuing professionally. He instead chose to take a job at DBHS as a history teacher.

“You see a lot of guys try that and think it not a good use of your time so I made the choice to spend time on my educational career,” Jones said. “I’m so thankful for that.”