This is new for B.J. Jones.

This is old, too.

Jones is the lone returning starter for Collingswood's defending Group 2 champions in boys' basketball. He's in a leadership role after spending his career as a complementary player.

That's different for the 6-foot-3 senior.

But Jones is used to setting an example. The oldest in his family, he's been a guiding light to his younger brothers, Shimon and Michael, for years.

"I'm used to watching out for them," Jones said. "I'm used to being a leader to them."

Jones is a three-year starter. He averaged 12.5 points and 7.1 rebounds last season as Collingswood went 26-4, won the South Jersey Group 2 title, and lost a heartbreaker to eventual state champion Shabazz in the state semifinals.

But that team featured seven seniors, led by current University of the Sciences guard Tyrone Mann-Barnes and current Rutgers-Camden guard Kyle Bowman.

Jones was a key guy for the Panthers, but he was a role player. He specialized in collecting rebounds, playing defense, scrambling for loose balls, and finishing on the fastbreak.

This season, Jones has moved front and center. That's the case with a lot of seniors. This is their time to shine.

"B.J. has to step up this season," Collingswood coach Joe McLoughlin said. "The good thing is, he learned from a lot of great players before him. He saw how they led the team.

"Now I'm looking for B.J. to do the same thing. Sometimes, we'll be at practice and I'll be like, 'B.J., show them how to do it.' "

Jones is a top athlete who probably will play football in college. A wide receiver and defensive back, he said he has received an offer from Maine and has been in contact with several other schools.

Jones has enjoyed the most team success on the basketball court. Collingswood went 44-14 in his first two seasons as a starter, winning back-to-back Colonial Liberty titles as well as that sectional title last season.

The Panthers might not be rebuilding, but they are reorganizing. Jones will lead the way on a team that has experienced veterans in senior forward Julian Wesley-White and senior guard Jermaine Feaster, as well as a promising transfer from Camden in Karon Waller.

The Colonial Liberty includes tough customers in Haddonfield and Haddon Heights as well as improved Sterling, while South Jersey Group 2 is absolutely loaded with the likes of last season's Central Jersey Group 3 champion Lakewood, Middle Township, Willingboro, Cinnaminson, and Medford Tech.

Jones knows Collingswood is regarded as something of a dark horse contender in South Jersey Group 2, despite the presence of that trophy from last season in the glass case in the lobby outside the team's historic gymnasium.

But as a senior, Jones is determined to keep Collingswood among the best programs in its conference as well as its group.

"People might be sleeping on us, but you shouldn't sleep on any team," Jones said. "We're young, but we've got a lot of good players.

"We're used to winning. I don't want to see us start to lose."

One of the challenges for many seniors is to assume the leadership role. It's difficult for some, easy for others.

Jones is quiet by nature. Some of this is new to him.

But he does has some experience.

"Even at home, I'm a leader and I have to set an example," Jones said. "I like being a role model."

Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3223 or panastasia@phillynews.com.