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12/13/2012 - From The Press Box: Ex-Central Star Jones To Have Heart Surgery, Honoring East's "Miracle On Vine Street" Squad

 Josh Jones truly has a heart of gold for his teammates on the Creighton mens basketball team and the program's fan base.

The former Omaha Central superstar, who helped lead the Eagles to three-straight Class A basketball titles from 2006 to 2008, has been an major part of the Bluejays' success.  He helped Creighton to the NCAA tournament last season and was helpful in games earlier this season.

But before the Dec. 6 game at Nebraska, Jones fainted and was rushed to the hospital.  He was in good spirits, but tests had to be done to see if anything was wrong with his heart.  Turns out, he has an atrial flutter.  If you're not aware, Jones had open-heart surgery just before his senior year at Central, when doctors found an infection had gotten into his heart requiring a valve replacement.

On Wednesday, Jones announced he will undergo surgery on Dec. 18th to try to determine what needs to be fixed.  Doctors will know after the second surgery next month if Jones can return to the court.   Creighton coach Greg McDermott says the good news is that Jones will be healthy long-term.

 "The fan base has been huge and it extends through out Omaha, specifically north Omaha and the state of Nebraska," said Jones during a news conference Wednesday morning.  "The feeling of collapsing at Nebraska is something I don't ever want to go through again."

Jones was a three-time all-state selection from Central.  When I first saw him as a sophomore at Central, Jones was a pure shooter from outside and became the lethal weapon for the Eagles during their title run.  It earned him attention from major Division I schools, including Creighton and Nebraska.

                                                                 Josh Jones (CU Photo Library)

Not knowing him personally, Jones appears to have a personality that can light up a smile on anyone's face.  Watching a Creighton game, you can see Jones with a smile on his face every time he's on the bench or on the floor.  "I'm always going to turn a positive out of a negative," said Jones.  He is on track to graduate in May with a public relations degree.  I wish nothing for the best for Josh in hopes of a speedy recovery. 

East's "Miracle on Vine Street" team to be honored

Anyone who was around in March 1971 and followed Nebraska high school basketball remembers the shot that's become known as the "Miracle on Vine Street." 

Scott Copple hit a shot from outside, beyond what would now be the three-point arc, as the buzzer sounded to give Lincoln East a 74-72 win over Papillion to give the Spartans their first boys state basketball title.

The 1971 East boys basketball team will be recognized Saturday night at halftime of the boys game against Grand Island as the school's "Team of Distinction" honor.

It was a botched inbounds play that worked.   Guard Jack Ball was to inbound the ball the full-length of the court with two seconds left.  The play was designed to have all-stater Kent Reckewey to take the final shot, but the ball was thrown wide right toward the front court. 

As it was heading out of bounds, sophmore forward Rick Samuelson tapped the ball back in play while heading into the seats and Copple came by and threw up a one-handed line drive shot that swished through the net as the buzzer sounded.  It became one of the most memorable finishes in state tournament history.

Most of the players will be back at East this weekend to be honored, including former head coach Paul Forch.   Copple and Samuelson, who were known for their heroics, will not be there.  Both are now deceased.

Click the link below for the YouTube video of the "Miracle on Vine Street."

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