LOS ANGELES - Scoffing at his grandfather’s tales of basketball exploits in the old days, the kid quickly went up 5-1 in their game of one-on-one, growing cockier with every basket. Then Maurice Jones, in his late 50s, suddenly began swishing jumpers.
The final: Grandfather 10, grandson Maurice Drew 5.
Sports — and life — lesson learned by a 9-year-old.
Drew, the dazzling, broken-field whiz for the surprising No. 8 UCLA Bruins, has lost his No. 1 fan. His namesake had a heart attack at the Rose Bowl during a victory over Rice on Sept. 10 and died shortly afterward.
Maurice Jones, a former basketball and track athlete at Pacific, was 69.
One of the last plays he saw his grandson make was a spectacular 66-yard touchdown on a punt return against the Owls.
“He was always there for me and he’s still with me all the time. When you see me, you’re seeing him,” said Drew, sweat still dripping down his distinctive dreadlocks after a recent practice.
His legal name is Jones-Drew, but when he was younger, he considered the hyphenate cumbersome, so he dropped the Jones. Now he has Jones-Drew stitched on the back of his jersey to honor his mentor.
Drew lived much of his youth with his grandfather and his grandmother, Christina, in Pinole, Calif., near San Francisco. Maurice Jones was a fixture at practice and games.
A retired probation officer, Maurice Jones had a lot to teach his grandson, including humility and determination. That pickup basketball game remains fresh in Drew’s mind more than a decade later.
“He used to tell me all this stuff about his basketball playing and I didn’t believe him,” Drew recalled. “When I went up 5-1, I got a little cocky. The last point, he pump-faked me real good and went up over me. I learned not to be cocky.”
“It was an old-time relationship. When Maurice (grandfather) told him something, he would just sit and listen. It was wisdom imparted to the youth at his knee,” Ladouceur said in a phone interview with the AP.
“Maurice Jones had a spirit about him that you see rarely, a real gentleness. When I get to be Maurice Jones’ age, I want to be just like him. He was so supportive, was more than a father to Maurice.”
About 325 former Penn State players, among them Kerry Collins and Paul Posluszny, have signed a statement supporting the lawsuit filed by the family of former coach Joe Paterno.
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