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Wingate Award completes season of firsts for Bedford’s Jones

Brent Jones walked into St. Francis College for the PSAL’s Wingate awards dinner expecting to see a few athletes from other sports and their parents. When he strode into the auxiliary gymnasium on the Brooklyn school’s fourth floor he was stunned.

The place was packed with coaches, athletes, their family, and friends.

“It’s an honor being here,” said Jones, who was accompanied by his mother, Lavonne Gaston, sporting an ear-to-ear grin that lasted the entire evening.

Just three months after leading Bedford Academy to the PSAL Class A crown, the first title of any kind for the East New York school, he became the first Panther to win the Wingate award, given to the top senior in his or her respective sport.

“I feel accomplished,” the 6-foot unsigned guard. “It makes me want to do more, get this feeling again, get more awards.”

Jones enjoyed a remarkable senior season, averaging 17 points and nine assists per game and leading Bedford Academy to the Brooklyn A East crown. In the biggest game of the year – the biggest game, actually, of his burgeoning career – he scored 34 points on 12-of-18 shooting and added seven steals in the Panthers’ 76-63 title game win over South Bronx.

“He has the same mentality I have: knock you out,” Bedford Academy coach Robert Phelps said. “With Brent out there, I feel comfortable. … “He’s one of the top guards in the city, I’ll tell you that. He’s definitely a Division I scholarship player.”

Jones is still waiting for that to happen. He has received plenty of interest, from St. Francis, St. Peter’s, Buffalo State, and Niagara, but is awaiting a qualifying SAT score. If that doesn’t happen, Jones will go to prep school for a year.

June 28, Jones will graduate from Bedford Academy, which, he said, will be a proud moment. It’s been a year full of them for Jones. Winning the Wingate, as an ‘A’ division player from a small school such as Bedford Academy, is right up there.

“I can go back to my school years from now on and say I did that,” he said. “I was the first person from my school. It means a lot. It’s something a lot of kids can look up to. If I do it, they can do it.”

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