Jones leaves, Nelson to join Duryea’s staff

August 20, 2016 GMT

It’s finally official.

Chris Jones is leaving the Utah State men’s basketball coaching staff. He will join the University of Utah’s staff as the director of basketball operations.

Meanwhile, USU head coach Tim Duryea has quickly found a replacement. Former Aggie great Spencer Nelson will be replacing Jones. There are still some hoops to jump through, so no official word on Nelson yet, but the USU Athletic Hall of Famer’s wife confirmed through Facebook that Nelson will be moving back to Logan to join the USU coaching staff.

Jones is returning to his alma mater after eight years at USU.

“This move is a move that Chris and his family felt like they needed to make for a variety of family reasons. We wish him the very best,” Duryea said in a press release. “Chris and I have experienced a lot of great moments coaching together for eight years, and I will always appreciate and value his basketball knowledge, work ethic, loyalty and friendship. He has been an integral part of the success we have had at Utah State.”

During his time at USU, Jones helped the Aggies to three conference titles and four postseason appearances, including three NCAA Tournaments and a trip to the 2011-12 collegeinsider.com tournament finals.

“Our eight years in Logan have been special,” Jones said. “The Cache Valley community, the Utah State community and all the great people and players that I’ve been fortunate to be around will forever be remembered by our family. Coach Duryea is a great friend and mentor, he is a great basketball coach and I look forward to watching the Aggies have great success.”

USU officials said they expect to announce “a replacement” next week.

Nelson returned to what he called a “real job” last fall after spending 10 professional basketball seasons in Europe. He has been residing in Bountiful with his wife Julie and four children, and working in Salt Lake City.

The Aggie forward was named a Mid-Major All-American and the Mid-Major Player of the Year by CollegeInsider.com as a senior in 2005 as he was the only player in the nation to average at least 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. During his senior season, Nelson was also named a first-team all-Big West selection, a Big West all-tournament team member, the league’s Hustle Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, and a member of the United States Basketball Writers All-District VIII team.

He averaged 16.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game that season. He was either the leader or among the leaders in the Big West in six categories.

Nelson finished his Aggie career with 1,283 points, 800 rebounds and 62 blocked shots. He still ranks 19th all-time in school history in scoring, eighth in rebounding and 10th in blocked shots. He also ranks third all-time in school history in career field goal percentage (.617), seventh in games played (120), ninth in double-figure rebound games (29), 10th in double-doubles (22), 10th in both free throws made (384) and attempted (533) and 12th in assists (302). He was one of 16 Aggies named to USU’s All-Century basketball team in 2005.

Last fall he was inducted into the USU Hall of Fame.

After his days at USU, Nelson spent a season in Germany, two in Italy, two in Greece, three in Spain and then the last two back in Italy. He also had two summer stints with the Utah Jazz.