DUMAS — Glory Slater remembers being a young girl waiting for the Desha Central High School boys basketball team bus to arrive from state tournament games when Major Jones was playing, just to find out whether the team won or not.

DUMAS — Glory Slater remembers being a young girl waiting for the Desha Central High School boys basketball team bus to arrive from state tournament games when Major Jones was playing, just to find out whether the team won or not.


She also remembers visiting the Wolfe Project community just to see Jones and his brothers playing. Among them were Charles, Wil and Caldwell Jones.


"They were like trees," Slater said. "It was just amazing. We actually called Charles ‘Tree’. He actually didn’t play organized ball until his senior year."


Each of them 6-feet-8 or taller, the Jones brothers went on to make an impact on Desha County’s basketball history greater than their physical presence. Many of them, including Caldwell, played at Desha Central, which was located in Rohwer.


"It looked like the goal was higher than it was supposed to be (when they were playing on it)," Slater said. "… You’d almost think they had 12-foot goals."


Caldwell Jones, the fifth of seven Jones boys, spent 17 years as a professional including the last 14 in the NBA. He died Sunday of a heart attack at an Atlanta golf course at age 64.


Brenda Jones, Caldwell’s niece and Charles’ daughter, said Caldwell had no known health issues prior to his death.


"It was just an ordinary day," Brenda Jones said. "It was the same routine (for a Sunday). From what my dad was telling me, he didn’t have any problems."


Jones is best remembered for helping the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Julius "Dr. J" Erving at the time, to the NBA Finals in 1977 (loss to the Portland Trail Blazers) and 1980 (loss to the Los Angeles Lakers). In a recent column in The Oregonian, he was quoted as saying about the 1977 Blazers, who were led by Bill Walton: "They were the better team. We had the most talent, but they were the better team that year."


Henry Bibby, Doug Collins and Darryl Dawkins. were among Jones’ teammates on those two Philly teams.


Drafted in the second round by the Sixers in 1973, the 6-foot-11 Jones was an ABA All-Star in 1975 and made the NBA All-Defensive First Team in 1981 and 1982.


In 1,068 career NBA games from 1976 to 1990, he averaged 6.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. He registered 15.8 points during his three ABA years, spent among teams in San Diego, Louisville and St. Louis.


Jones played with the Sixers from 1976-82, then joined the Rockets for two years, played with the Chicago Bulls during Michael Jordan’s rookie season (1984-85), spent the next four years with the Blazers and retired after a season with the San Antonio Spurs, which was David Robinson’s rookie campaign.


Wil, Major and Charles Jones also played in the NBA and, like Caldwell, attended Albany State University in Georgia. Charles retired in 1998 after 19 seasons, having won an NBA title with the Houston Rockets.


"Whenever they were talking about an NBA game that involved the Joneses, we were trying to watch that," said Slater, a 1976 graduate of Delta High (with which Desha Central consolidated) who now coaches the Dumas High girls basketball team. "And then, going to school there — and I graduated from there in ‘76 and I went back to teach there in ‘87 — that was always talked about, the Joneses and what they were able to do. It was like putting (the area) on the map."


Caldwell Jones was born Aug. 4, 1950, in McGehee. The Jones family grew up working on a farm in Desha County, not knowing they were poor, according to his interview with The Oregonian.


"That farm was the way we survived," he was quoted. "A lot of times you don’t know when you’re poor. You don’t go to bed hungry, so you don’t know it. We ate three times a day, my mother fed us, it wasn’t until much later that I realized we were poor."


At Delta, which consolidated with McGehee in 2004, Slater coached Brenda Jones, who went on to an All-American career at then-NAIA program Arkansas-Monticello. Brenda’s daughter, Shakyla Begnaud, is a junior standout at McGehee.


Brenda Jones said her family name had a bigger impact than any of the Jones boys alone. She recalls people often confusing her for Caldwell’s daughter.


"Every time you turn around, you hear, ‘Those Jones boys did this. Those Jones boys did that,’ " Brenda Jones said. "Every time they saw me, they knew I was related to those Jones boys in some way."


Jones said her dad’s and uncles’ go-getter attitudes helped impact the way she played the game.


"Watching them helped with my game of basketball," she said.


According to the column, Caldwell Jones is survived by his wife Vanessa and three daughters, Zori, 21; Maya, 18; and Leah, 13. Brenda Jones said funeral services have been set for Saturday morning in Atlanta, but did not have further particulars.


"He was a great uncle, great uncle," Brenda Jones said. "A loving dad, a loving husband. An all-around guy."