Basketball

Verdell Jones III joins D-League's Warriors

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Guard Verdell Jones III, who helped the Fukushima Firebonds reach the bj-league playoffs as an expansion team last season, has been named to the Santa Cruz Warriors’ 15-man training camp roster, the NBA Development League team announced on Monday.

Training camp opened on Tuesday for the reigning D-League champions.

Casey Hill, who served as an assistant coach for the now-defunct Tokyo Apache, is entering his third season as the Santa Cruz bench boss.

Jones was second in the bj-league in assists (5.9) last season. He was the league’s sixth-leading scorer (19.5) and was 10th in steals (1.6). He appeared in 44 regular-season games.

An Indiana University product, Jones, 26, played for the Oita HeatDevils during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

In a September interview with The News-Gazette, an Illinois newspaper, Jones spoke about his plans for the coming season.

“I actually had an offer a couple of weeks ago to go to Israel and I turned that down,” Jones was quoted as saying. “I just didn’t feel very comfortable about it. I got another offer (Wednesday) from Japan, and I looked into it, but I want to give the D-League a shot just to try my hand at trying the D-League and hopefully getting an NBA opportunity. I’m at the right age right now where I can try that and if it doesn’t work out, I can say, ‘Hey, at least I tried, then went overseas.’

“Overseas and certainly Japan will be there after the career I’ve had over there so far. I just want to try it over here.”