Seth Jones of Plano, Texas, is a 6-foot-3, 201-pound defenseman and quite possibly the best young American-born hockey player in the country. He was the captain of the USA Under-18 team that recently won gold at the World Championships in the Czech Republic. He's also the only player on that team who didn't commit to playing NCAA hockey. Everyone of his teammates (save for one undecided) will play D-I hockey, but Jones will instead go play for the WHL's Portland Winterhawks for a year while he awaits NHL Draft eligibility.
But the real kicker here is that Jones is the son of former NBAer Popeye Jones. Yes, the same Popeye Jones who played one unmemorable season in Denver, which was apparently enough for five-year-old Seth to fall in love with hockey. To that end, we can also thank Celtics management for trading Jones to Denver in August 1999 as part of a seven-player deal. (Also going to Denver in that trade: the late Dwayne Schintzius.)
Might we see Jones in the NHL one day? It seems all but certain, based on this scouting report:
[He] probably made the correct call in choosing Portland. Though he could probably benefit from a college weight program, it probably does him better to go out and dominate young kids in the WHL and play in a ton of games before heading to the NHL than it would for him to struggle with the more physical aspects of college hockey (and I think it's fair to say that an 18 year old, no matter how talented, would struggle physically playing against men). It's important to reiterate, though, that Jones would fare well regardless of the path he chose. By all accounts he is as smart and humble and hardworking as he is talented.
Now all he needs is a memorable nickname. Maybe Dad can help out.