High school basketball player's touching postgame speech made his coach cry

After losing in the state championships, Terrell Jones of the Eufaula High School basketball team talks about how much his coach changed his life. (Twitter/@RDiSangro__WTVY)
After losing in the state championships, Terrell Jones of the Eufaula High School basketball team talks about how much his coach changed his life. (Twitter/@RDiSangro__WTVY)

If a high school basketball player lost his last game by a single point, you’d probably expect him to be sad, disappointed, and even a little tearful. But that’s not how a young man named Terrell Jones acted when that happened to him.

Jones played his final high school basketball game for Eufaula High (Ala.) School over the weekend, and even though he scored 20 points before fouling out with just under two minutes left, it ended in a heartbreaking one-point overtime loss in the state championships. Even more heartbreaking? It had been 19 years since the Eufaula High basketball team had been to the state championships, and it almost pulled off an amazing late-game comeback.

After the game, Jones sat in front of the media with several teammates and his coach and answered questions. He was obviously sad, but also calm, honest, and overwhelmingly positive about his experience. Especially when talking about his coach, Michael Smith.

Warning: have some tissues ready before you watch the video below.


Not a dry eye left is right. Here’s the text of what Jones said.

“It’s been a long time since Eufaula has been in the state championship. Since Day 1, I remember the first day Coach Smith came in the gym. He told me — he said, ‘If you want to be a state champion, you gotta be different. Everybody can’t be a state champion.’

“I’ve never forgotten a word that man said to me. Each and every second that wind down, I was just thinking, ‘I gotta be different. I gotta separate myself. I gotta separate myself to show that I’m different.’ Because I wanted to be a state champion. We fell one-point short.

“But I know all those young guys in that locker room, they have a bright future. Because everything that I’ve been through, they’re going through and they still have to go through. It’s only gonna make them better. This man right there is the best coach I’ve ever had in my life. I wouldn’t trade him for the world.”

Coach Smith was sitting a few spots down from Jones, and he was so touched by Jones’ comments that he couldn’t hold back the tears. I’m sure he wasn’t the only one.

– – – – – –

Liz Roscher is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

What to Read Next

Back