Who was on the Jonestown basketball team and why were they in Georgetown on November 18?

There were 13 young men in Georgetown in mid-November who were considered part of the Jonestown basketball team (although a couple of the identifications were made by survivors who considered any young Temple male survivor to have been on the team). In a rough descending order of the frequency with which they were named, they are:

Stephan Jones
Jim Jones Jr.
Johnny Cobb Jones
Tim Tupper Jones
Cleveland Newell
Preston Wade
Carl Barnett
Mark Cordell
Calvin Douglas
Walter Williams
Burrell Wilson
Lee Ingram (coach)
Mike Touchette (coach)

While many of these young men were also on the Jonestown security team, the basketball team had not been sent to Georgetown in response to, or as monitors of, Congressman Ryan’s party. Instead, they were there to participate in a basketball tournament which had been scheduled more than a month earlier.

Nevertheless, the post-tragedy interviews conducted by the FBI suggested that stories had circulated about what some perceived as the team’s real role. The origin of the rumors is unknown, and it cannot be discounted that the FBI agents were instrumental in promoting the idea themselves.

Even so, most survivors echoed what the FBI reported that elderly survivor Vera Young said in her interview: “She said she was unaware of any ‘hit’ squad and she presumed the only thing the Basketball Team did was to play basketball.”

Answer uploaded January 2017

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