DENVER — While fellow Murray State products Ja Morant and Cameron Payne have been making lots of noise the past few years in the NBA, another former Racer has also been making an impact.
Murray State Hall of Famer Popeye Jones has been an assistant for several teams since his 10-year career in the league ended in the early 2000s. However, in the past few weeks, he has received a chance to try his hand as a head coach with the Denver Nuggets, and it has gone well.
Filling in for Head Coach Michael Malone and others who have undergone health and safety protocols due to COVID-19, Jones has compiled a 2-2 record. His latest win came Friday night by a 121-111 score over Sacramento in Denver. His first win came in his debut in the interim head spot as the Nuggets beat Houston, 124-111, in Houston on New Year’s Night.
Jones joined the Denver coaching staff in August. Prior to coming to the Nuggets, he had served as an assistant with the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets, Indiana and Philadelphia. His NBA playing career started in Dallas and also included stops in Toronto, Boston, Denver, Washington and Golden State.
The Nuggets were in Oklahoma City Sunday night, but results of that game were not known until after press time. Jones was expected to once again lead the Nuggets from the bench in that game.
Jones became a legend at Murray State after a standout career at nearby Dresden (Tennessee) High School. Jones was the Ohio Valley Conference Player of the Year in both 1990 and ‘91 and is the only Racer to score more than 2,000 points and grab more than 1,000 rebounds.