THOMASVILLE — A former college football standout has been an integral part of the Thomasville boys’ basketball success this year.

It’s Shawn Jones’ first year as an assistant coach at his alma mater. The one-time Georgia Tech quarterback is now sending signals to the Region 1-AA champs on the hardwood.

“I just wanted to assist. Coach (Ben) Tillman had already done all the work,” Jones said. “He does a real good job at studying the game and understanding the opponent. Basically, what we do is put our heads together and he asks me what I think in situations and I give him my opinion.”

Jones’ opinion carries a lot of weight. Along with running the Bulldogs’ offense in football in the late ’80s, Jones was a standout basketball player as well.

“God gifted me to be able to play, being an athlete. I was gifted with the ability to play basketball as well as football and be able to do both well. I was able to go play at a high level at both sports,” Jones added. “I’m just taking, basically, what I’ve learned and share that with the guys that I worked with. Hopefully, they can take it and grow from it.”

Tillman added, “I’m just glad to have him as part of the team”

Jones’ biggest asset as an assistant has been with conditioning.

“He likes to personal train. I think with him being able to be in the gym and help personal train the guys in conditioning and how to take care of their bodies, it has really been a plus for us,” Tillman said.

Jones added, “The one thing I’ve always told them is it’s hard to play if you can’t breathe. It sounds funny but it’s a real true statement. I’ve seen in the past few weeks, our conditioning levels has enabled us to push away from opponents and really put games out of reach just because guys have been in such good conditioning. I credit (coach Tillman) because he said, ‘Look, you do that,’ and he allowed me to do it.”

Conditioning has been key in the Bulldogs’ run in the Class AA playoffs this season. Thomasville routed Central-Macon 74-51 and Benedictine 70-44. It plays Henry County on Saturday at Georgia Southwestern in Americus.

“I’m excited for the guys because I know how much work they put into it,” Jones said. “You always want to see the fruits of your labor, not so much from my standpoint, but from the guys that have put the work into it. I’m a person that just gives information.”

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