Basketball / BJ-League

Fukushima Firebonds sign Jones to bolster backcourt

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Fukushima Firebonds have signed guard Verdell Jones III, bj-league sources have told The Japan Times.

The Indiana University product is currently waiting for his visa paperwork to be processed.

The expansion Firebonds went 1-1 in the first weekend of the regular season, edging the visiting Aomori Wati’s 66-64 on Sunday for the first victory in franchise history. Now, they are close to having the explosive floor leader as a part of their backcourt rotation.

Fukushima travels to face the Iwate Big Bulls this weekend.

Jones suited up for the Oita HeatDevils the past two seasons.

According to statistics posted on asia-basket.com, Jones averaged 16.1 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 1.8 steals in 39 games for the HeatDevils in 2013-14 while playing 29.7 minutes per game.

Last March, a healthy Jones provided a big spark for Oita after an eight-game absence due to a knee injury. In his return, he finished with 19 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals in a seven-point road win over the Osaka Evessa.

The 25-year-old Jones ranked ninth on the Hoosiers’ all-time assist list (389) when his college career ended in 2012, and he had 68 double-figure scoring games in his four years at the Big Ten school. What’s more, ESPN.com listed Jones as the No. 28 senior point guard in the United State in 2008, when he attended Champaign (Illinois) Central High School.

Jones sustained a knee injury as a college senior and didn’t participate in the NCAA Tournament. He began his pro career in the Greek League before joining the HeatDevils.