Nelson basketball legend Phill Jones with his daughter Maia, who is following in her parents’ footsteps. Photo: Jonty Dine.

Basketball is in Maia’s genes


Maia Jones has a prestigious basketball pedigree.

Her mother Kat is Nelson Sparks stalwart and former captain while dad Phill had his Giant’s jersey retired following an illustrious international career.

After initially showing little interest in the sport, Maia is now set to follow in the sizeable footprints of her parents.

“Mum made me start,” the 14-year-old says says. “I didn’t want to, but I had to play a team sport, so I got pushed into basketball.”

It wasn’t long before her genetics saw her shine on court.

The Waimea College student recently represented Tasman at the AON U15 National Championships in Tauranga where she was named in the tournament team.

She was also selected in the New Zealand U14 development team which played in Australia last year.

Father Phill says Maia has plenty of potential as a player.

“She has a scorer’s mentality, if she wants to take it to another level, she will.”

The young point guard is also a talented netball and touch player, but says she plans to focus on basketball.

“I want to do what my dad did, travel and play basketball.”

Maia is the eldest of three children with Hayden, 12, and Ava, 10, also keen ballers.

The basketball season is a hectic time in the Jones’ household with the three kids at three schools playing two sports each.

“It’s pretty busy,” Phill says.

However, the former Tall Black is delighted the Jones name will remain in the game for a few years to come.

“It might be around for a little bit longer, hopefully.”

Phill is still heavily involved in the game in a coaching capacity.

Such is her ability, Maia plays for both the senior and junior teams at Waimea College, which her parents coach.

Maia says it doesn’t matter how much bigger or older her opponents are, she treats them the same.

“She’s definitely not out of place against the seniors, she plays with no conscience which is a good trait,” Phill says.

Maia is now preparing for the junior and senior South Island tournaments back to back at the end of August.

She says she hopes to go to university in America and one day play in the WNBA.