Chris Jones was watching his future college basketball team play in the NCAA Elite Eight on Sunday when he "just started to cry."
The University of Louisville signee said he broke down watching current U of L sophomore Kevin Ware suffer a broken right leg with just over six minutes left in the first half of the Cardinals' win over Duke.
"I just cried," Jones told Cardinal Authority on Tuesday.
Jones said Ware is among his one of his closest friends and it was "so hard" to watch. Both players were committed to Tennessee for almost a year and later signed with the Volunteers as part of the Class of 2011.
But when Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl was fired, Ware ended up and U of L and Jones went to Northwest Florida State junior college before also signing with Cardinals last November. He'll arrive on campus this summer.
"He's like my best friend, so it was tough for me to watch," Jones said. "But I talked to him Sunday night and he told me he was going to be fine.
"He's one of the best guys I've ever met and one of the toughest guys I've ever met. He told me to keep my head up that he was going to be OK."
Jones said he's "not surprised" by later hearing that Ware told his team "just win the game," and has since been released from the hospital and is back on campus at Louisville and expected to travel to Atlanta with his teammates for the Final Four.
"I know how he is," Jones said. "Nothing he does surprises me. He's so tough and he's just a great person. He's just Kevin."
Ware, who attended high school in the Atlanta-area, and Jones, a point guard from Memphis, Tenn., met just after both committed to Tennessee.
Jones averaged 21.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.2 assists a game for NW Florida and is considered the top player in the JUCO ranks.