NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – Seth Jones won’t be going home to Colorado when his NHL career begins but he will be heading to his famous father’s home state as a member of the Nashville Predators.
After being rated No. 1 among North American skaters in pre-draft rankings, Jones was bypassed by Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay before being chosen by the Predators at No. 4. The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones seemed happy Sunday in his bright yellow Nashville jersey and will be able to learn about playing NHL defense from new teammate Shea Weber.
“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about going to those teams but, at the same time, I’m excited to be a Predator and obviously Shea Weber is there,” he said. “He’s a great player and they have a lot of other great players and I’m happy to be a part of the organization.”
Popeye Jones is friends with one of the Predators scouts and he said he was told that his son wouldn’t fall past Nashville at No. 4.
“I know he was probably sitting up there thinking, ‘Oh wow’ because somebody said you may go one, you may go two,” he said. “When I got drafted in ’92, I didn’t get to come to the draft. I was just glad to be drafted. I knew how nerve-racking it was watching it at home when I went 41. I am sure it was nerve-racking but I’m sure he tried to stay calm and cool to see where he was going to go.”
Now Seth Jones has something else to prove, beyond the usual drive draft picks have to show that they belong in the NHL.
“I think professional athletes or athletes in general are always looking for something to motivate them because there is always going to be dog days where you may not want to lift or do extra crunches,” Popeye Jones said. “But you will look at this and say, ‘I got drafted fourth. Maybe I need to get to the weight room again and try to prove guys wrong, that I should’ve went first.’ “You are also looking for that extra motivation.”
So now Popeye Jones, drafted by the NBA’s Houston Rockets in 1992 and traded to Dallas, knows what NHL team he will be throwing his support to.
“There is no disappointment in going to Nashville. It is such a great franchise,” he said. “It is my home state. I’ve got to get my Preds hat.”