Phill Jones

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Phill Jones
Personal information
Born (1974-01-25) 25 January 1974 (age 44)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Nationality New Zealand
Listed height 196 cm (6 ft 5 in)
Listed weight 95 kg (209 lb)
Career information
High school Inangahua College
(Inangahua Junction, New Zealand)
Nelson College
(Nelson, New Zealand)
Playing career 1993–2017
Position Shooting guard
Career history
1993–1998 Nelson Giants
1998–1999 Kouvot
1999 Otago Nuggets
2000–2017 Nelson Giants
2000–2001 Kouvot
2001–2002 Honka Espoo
2002 Kouvot
2002–2003 Cantù
2003–2004 New Zealand Breakers
2004–2007 Cantù
2007–2009 New Zealand Breakers
2009–2011 Cairns Taipans
Career highlights and awards

Phillip Charles George "Phill" Jones (born 25 January 1974) is a New Zealand former professional basketball player who is best known for his time spent with the Nelson Giants in the New Zealand National Basketball League (NZNBL). The two-time Olympian has scored more points in the New Zealand NBL than any other Kiwi player and is second overall in league scoring history. In 2004, he ranked second among all points scorers at the Athens Olympics.[1] In 2016, he became the first player in New Zealand NBL history to reach 400 games.

Early life[edit]

Born in Christchurch,[2] Jones grew up in Reefton, where he attended Inangahua College.[3] In 1992, Jones moved to Nelson to play high school basketball at Nelson College.[4]


Early years in the NZNBL[edit]

In 1993, Jones debuted in the New Zealand NBL for the Nelson Giants, playing with the club for six seasons. In 1999, Jones played for the Otago Nuggets. After one season with the Nuggets, he re-joined the Giants in 2000 and played for them every year until 2017 (excluding 2005 and 2007).[5]

Professional career[edit]

Jones made his professional debut in 1998 with Kouvot of the Finnish Korisliiga. In 2000/01, Jones again played for Kouvot in Finland. He then split the 2001/02 season with Honka Espoo and Kouvot. He spent the 2002/03 season in Italy with Oregon Scientific Cantù[6] before returning to his home country for the 2003/04 season, as he joined the New Zealand Breakers for their inaugural season in the National Basketball League (NBL).

After one season with the Breakers, Jones spent three straight seasons in Italy with Cantù. Jones subsequently missed out on the Giants' 2007 championship after returning from Italy two days too late to complete his five-game requirement to be eligible to join the Nelson roster.[7]

In July 2007, Jones signed a two-year deal with the New Zealand Breakers, returning to the club for a second stint.[8] After being named the 2008/09 NBL Best Sixth Man, the Breakers told him he was surplus to requirements. As a result, in July 2009, Jones signed with the Cairns Taipans.[9] He spent two seasons with the Taipans an helped them reach the NBL Grand Final in 2011, a series the Taipans ironically lost to the Breakers.

Concluding years in the NZNBL[edit]

On 10 May 2014, Jones played his 350th game for the Nelson Giants in a loss to the Southland Sharks.[10] Six days later, he tied the all-time record for NBL games played in a loss to the Hawke's Bay Hawks. Jones played his 361st game, tying the record with NBL great Willie Burton who played from 1985 to 2006.[11] On 23 May 2014, he broke Burton's record, playing his 362nd game in a win over the Manawatu Jets.[12][13][14] On 27 June 2014, Jones' jersey number 13 was retired by the Giants,[15] and on 4 July 2014, he played his 369th and supposed last game in the Giants' 87–71 semi-final loss to the Wellington Saints.[16]

Following his retirement following the 2014 season, Jones was appointed the Giants' managing director.[17][18] However, in March 2015, he came out of retirement and re-joined the Giants playing group for the NBL Pre-season Blitz.[19] New head coach Tim Fanning managed to convince Jones to commit for another year, as he joined the squad to add much needed depth for the 2015 season.[20][21] He continued on with the Giants in 2016 as well,[22] and on 19 March 2016, he passed 7,000 points for his career.[23] On 25 April 2016, he became the first player in New Zealand NBL history to reach 400 games.[24][25] In September 2016, he called time on his career, this time for good.[26]

Jones continued on with the Giants in 2017 as an assistant coach,[27][28] as well as filling the Giants' director of operations role.[29] However, on 6 May 2017, the Giants brought Jones out of retirement for game number 407, but he only played eight minutes against the Hawke's Bay Hawks.[30] Two weeks later, on 19 May, he played his second game of the season, once again against Hawke's Bay.[31] In June 2017, his number 13 jersey was retired by the Giants for a second time.[32]

Coaching career[edit]

In January 2016, Jones was appointed head coach of the Nelson Sparks, a women's team playing in New Zealand's Women's Basketball Championship (WBC).[33] The Sparks fell short in their quest for a place in the top six, as the finished in seventh place with a 3–6 record.[34]

National team career[edit]

In June 2008, after playing for the Tall Blacks for 14 years, Jones retired from international basketball.[35]


Jones is the son of John and Carol Jones, and has a brother named Johnno.[15] He and his wife, Kat, have three children: Maia, Hayden and Ava.[7][36]


  1. ^ 'Cut me and I bleed blue', says retiring Jones
  2. ^ Phil Jones Bio, Stats, and Results
  3. ^ Basketball: The top shot who kept growing
  4. ^ Giants' blue blood admits end is nigh
  5. ^ Nelson Giants – player stats
  6. ^ Basketball: Tall Black makes winning debut in Italy
  7. ^ a b Nelson Giants' Phill Jones to stand alone in NBL
  8. ^ Originals Return
  9. ^ Phill Jones signs with Taipans
  10. ^ Southland Sharks spoil party for Giants legend
  11. ^ Jones to tie record Archived 18 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ Giants down the Jets in Palmerston North
  13. ^ Jets vs Giants
  14. ^ Jones gets win in special occasion
  15. ^ a b Giants legend Phill Jones' final home hurrah
  16. ^ Saints outshine Giants to reach NBL final
  17. ^ Veteran Vukona stays glued to Giants' cause
  18. ^ A humble Giant amongst sports legends talks sponsorship, retiring and community
  19. ^ Much-travelled American Kareem Johnston joins Wellington Saints
  20. ^ Jones Comes Out Of Retirement
  21. ^ It's game on comeback kid Phill Jones
  22. ^ National Basketball League shaping as three-horse race for title
  23. ^ Jones achieves 7000-point milestone in stellar NBL career
  24. ^ Canterbury Rams' third quarter blitz stuns Nelson Giants
  25. ^ Nelson Giants legend Phill Jones' 400th NBL game ends in defeat
  26. ^ Giants nab three time NBL champion
  27. ^ Supercity Rangers edge Nelson Giants in NBL clash to tighten top-four claims
  28. ^ Tom Ingham makes the most of rare start for Nelson Giants
  29. ^ Phill Jones looks on the bright side in wake of difficult NBL season for Giants
  31. ^ Player statistics for Phil Jones
  32. ^ Phill Jones 'humbled' with No 13 retirement
  33. ^ Nelson Giants coach Tim Fanning wants legend Phill Jones back for another season
  34. ^ Nelson Sparks fall short of top six finish at Women's Basketball Championship
  35. ^ Basketball: Phil Jones retires from international basketball
  36. ^ More parents want three

External links[edit]