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Weber State basketball: Jones passes Gill for steals record on night Gill’s 1998-99 team honored

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Jan 21, 2024

Photo supplied, WSU Athletics

Weber State's Dillon Jones (2) poses with former WSU guard Eddie Gill on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Ogden. Jones passed Gill as the program's career steals leader.

OGDEN — History converged Saturday night at the Dee Events Center, adding a special note to two separately significant events.

Several members of Weber State’s 1998-99 men’s basketball team came to Ogden to be recognized at halftime of WSU’s game against Idaho on the 25th anniversary of that team’s Big Sky championship and first-round NCAA Tournament win over North Carolina (and near-win over Florida in the next round).

One of those men was, of course, Eddie “The Thrill” Gill, the point guard of one of the program’s most memorable teams.

The events of the 25th-anniversary night were planned well in advance but, as it happened, Gill was there to hand off his WSU steals crown. Dillon Jones picked the pocket of Idaho’s Kyson Rose during a post-up late in the first half, giving him 179 career steals and pushing him ahead of Gill, who finished with 178.

Jones again flirted with a triple-double as well, finishing with 14 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, just missing a chance for a special note as Gill (14 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists on Feb. 26, 2000) is also the last Weber State player to record a triple-double.

Robert Casey, WSU Athletics

Members of the 1998-99 Weber State men's basketball team pose for a photo during a 25th-anniversary recognition Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024, in Ogden.

Jones and others of his teammates mingled on the court after WSU’s 88-65 victory with Gill, Harold Arceneaux and others from the 98-99 team.

His ascension to the top of the steals list is among several big moves Jones has made on Weber State’s career leaderboards, and precedes several more to come.

He’d already passed Arceneaux (13th) in career points earlier this season and, currently in 10th place with 1,475 points, needs to score about 12 points per game the rest of the way to rise as high as fifth all-time at WSU (he’d pass Joel Bolomboy, Jimmie Watts, Willie Sojourner, Jermaine Boyette and Jimmy DeGraffenried to get there).

Jones has moved from fifth to third in career rebounds (passing Bruce Collins and Jimmie Watts) and, with 1,013 rebounds, needs about 10 per game to pass Sojourner (1,143) for second.

As if that’s not enough, Jones has rocketed from outside the top 10 into fifth on WSU’s career assists board; 23 more assists will be good enough to pass Gill, Jeremy Senglin and Damian Lillard into second place.

So it’s within reach that Jones finishes in these spots on WSU’s career lists: fifth in points, second in rebounds, second in assists, and first in steals (and top-five, with as high as second possible, in made free throws). Chasing down second in rebounds also puts second place in play for Big Sky history as well.

And, he’s already the first player in Big Sky Conference history with at least 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists and 150 steals.

Worthy of appreciation, for sure.


After a highlight clip, several from the 1998-99 team were honored during halftime. Joe Cravens, then an assistant coach at WSU, joined Gill, Arceneaux, Bountiful native Andy Jensen, Shawn Moore, Eric Ketcham, Joey Haws, and Roy native Fred Dawson as the contingent in town for the recognition.

Each person took the court starting lineup-style running out of the big tunnel on the arena’s northwest side, with public address announcer Robb Alexander bellowing their names.

After that, Gill and Arceneaux joined Cravens — back at his post in his usual color commentary spot on ESPN+ — and play-by-play voice Tony Parks for a TV interview to reminisce about the big NCAA Tournament win.

Among the highlights of that conversation, about a game Gill called “a special moment ingrained in Weber State history”:

— Gill said he grew up a North Carolina fan, so facing them was surreal but something he had to “get over quickly.” He and Parks recounted a story when, the day before the game passing each other on the way to/from the practice court, Gill said North Carolina players seemed to act like WSU was simply lucky to be there, giving him extra motivation to win.

— Of his many big shots, Arceneaux laughed that “it was the first time I was going to be able to shoot and nobody was going to say nothing about it, so I just took advantage of it.”

— Gill said the team’s senior leadership — Jensen, Ketcham, Haws, Noel Jackson, Damien Baskerville, Marc Lawson — made him believe Weber could beat UNC from the moment the draw was revealed.

— Parks, on a forgotten circumstance, numbered how North Carolina tried to post up WSU somewhere around 23 times and Jensen, Arceneaux and others kept the Tar Heels to three field goals in those scenarios, even against eventual 13-year NBA veteran Brendan Haywood. “We caught rhythm at the end of the year, we just had good team chemistry,” Arceneaux pointed to as the reason. “We just played for each other.”

— In the lead-up to the game, the question seemed to be how would the smaller WSU match up to UNC? The counterpoint, as Cravens said, was that North Carolina had to figure out how to keep up with WSU defensively — delivering one of his classic quips, that UNC’s bigger forwards trying to guard the shifty Arceneaux was like “trying to catch a butterfly in a wind storm. Harold hit the first couple and it was, OK, here we go!”

— Gill said he hadn’t watched the game in about 15 years until Saturday morning when he — who now does radio commentary and TV studio shows for Indiana Pacers broadcasts — was on the flight to Utah. “I texted my son … and I was nervous at the end of the game as if I didn’t know what was going to happen. I go to the free-throw line late in the game, I’m like, am I going to make these?”

— Parks asked if Cravens made them laugh as players as much as he makes him laugh on the air. “I think I made him laugh more than anything,” Arceneaux, a New Orleans native, said about Cravens. “With our hillbilly accents, we were the only ones who could understand one another,” quipped Cravens, the native of small-town Scottsburg in southern Indiana. “He was king of the one-liners,” Gill added,” none of which I can share right now.”


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