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Seth Jones knows how to handle media crush

by Adam Kimelman

The 38 players who took part in the inaugural CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game were watched closely by scouts, media and fans.

But one star burned brightest during the weekend in Buffalo, and that was Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones.

The 6-foot-3 1/2, 208-pound blueliner is a favorite to be one of the first two players picked at the 2013 NHL Draft, and could go No. 1.

Along with that lofty status comes the attendant outside attention. It's ratcheted up a notch when the player has as interesting a backstory as Jones -- raised and developed in the non-traditional hockey market of Plano, Texas, as the son of a longtime NBA power forward.


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Jones handled the media crush in Buffalo much like he handles himself on the ice -- professionally and mature beyond his years.

And his time in Buffalo was just the start of it. As the season goes on, he'll take part in high-profile events including the World Junior Championship, the Canadian Hockey League Top Prospects Game, and the Scouting Combine. And with the Winterhawks' talent level, there's a chance he could play in the Memorial Cup.

"It's tough to put it aside," Jones said of the extra attention. "You kind of have to do the best you can. Stuff is going to come up like this, the [CHL] prospect game in January, World Juniors is just a couple more steps down the road. Those are going to be great experiences for me for this year. I'm just really looking forward to having a great year in Portland as well."

While Seth and his father play different sports, Popeye Jones -- who spent 11 seasons in the NBA and currently works as an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets -- is no stranger to media attention. So advice in that regard was easy for father to pass along to son.

"Everyone's watching you at all times and you have to act professional all the time, not do anything stupid off the ice -- which everyone does once in a while," Jones said his father told him. "You just have to keep that stuff to the side and play the game and have fun."

Popeye has been impressed by what he's seen so far from Seth, the second of his three sons, all of whom play hockey.

"I think he's handling it really well," he told "It's hard, I think, for any kid not to think about it [the NHL] in the back of their head, because they're excited. Even when I was in college I was excited. 'Oh, I get a chance to be drafted in the NBA.' But at the same time, I think you try not to read the press clippings. I told him you keep your head down, you keep on working. You do the things that have made you successful to where you are at that point."

Contact Adam Kimelman at Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

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