This winter is probably going to feel different to Domonic Jones. For the first time in a long time, he won’t be playing organized basketball. The former VCU star retired from professional hoops in the spring. Will he miss it?
“I wasn’t at that moment and not right now,” said the 31-year-old Jones, the 2004 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year. “That’s not to say that won’t change once basketball season rolls around.”
Jones hasn’t had much trouble filling the basketball void. He’s had a number of other life-shifting events to tend to. On May 19, Jones married the former Amanda Cunningham after a nearly three-year courtship. The couple met through mutual friends a few years ago and managed to grow closer, even as Jones was spending half of his time in Europe.
This spring, Jones decided it was time to move onto the next chapter of his life. No more long distance relationship, no more correspondence from thousands of miles away. He wanted to be home. Home in Richmond. Home with Amanda. After nine professional seasons, mostly in Germany, he called it quits.
“I tried to do what was best for us at the end of the day,” Jones said. “It’s not easy trying to make a relationship work halfway across the world. It’s definitely good to be home,” he said. “I get to spend a lot more time with friends and family.”
The Chesterfield native has also landed on his feet professionally. Since June, he’s been working in Richmond as a sales consultant for Commonwealth Distribution, a janitorial and maintenance supply company.
In the meantime, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to catch up with the VCU Basketball program he helped transform into a winner after years of maddening mediocrity.
A Chesterfield native and Manchester High School graduate, the 6-foot-1 Jones averaged a team-high 16.3 points per game during the 2003-04 season for second-year coach Jeff Capel. That year, he led the Rams to the CAA Tournament Championship and VCU’s first NCAA bid in eight years. In the first round of the NCAA Tournament against Wake Forest, Jones matched the effort of future NBA star Chris Paul with 22 points and seven assists in a 79-78 loss.
Although VCU and Jones fell short of the upset, the 2004 season signaled shift in the direction of the program. Three years later, an Eric Maynor jumper gave VCU its first NCAA Tournament win in two decades. In 2011, the school sent shockwaves through college basketball when it reached the Final Four.
Jones, who ranks seventh in school history in points (1,616), has returned to VCU over the years to work basketball camps under Capel, Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart. When he’s around campus, fans are quick to express their gratitude for that breakthrough season.
“I hear that a lot. It definitely feels good to accomplish something like that, and they haven’t looked back since,” Jones said.
As much as he’s a part of VCU’s past, Jones won’t rule out being a part of the Rams’ future. Jones says he’s open to the prospect of working in athletics in some capacity, especially at VCU.
“I would love to be able to come back to VCU,” he said. “I’m definitely always going to check and see what things are available.”