He may only be 5-7 and 155 pounds — a Chihuahua in a kennel of big dogs — but Carl English is certainly high on Maurice Jones, the interim general manager’s latest signing as the St. John’s Edge roster rounds into shape.
“He was one of the guys we talked about all summer,” English said of the dynamic 26-year-old American point guard. “We played Windsor, what, 10 times, and he was tough every game.
“He kind of reminds me of Allen Iverson. He’ll take a hit and get back up every time.”
The Edge signed Jones to a one-year contract Wednesday. St. John’s traded for his rights from the Windsor Express Monday, dealing the rights to Canadian centre/power forward Grandy Glaze, along with cash considerations.
In 43 National Basketball League of Canada games last season, Jones averaged almost 18 points and six assists. He also led the league in total steals with 91. He was top 20 in average scoring and top 10 in both average assists and minutes played (38.3) per game, finishing off the regular season with a 50-point performance against the KW Titans.
Jones was named to the league’s third all-star team, and to the league’s all-defensive team.
He was the NBL Canada’s rookie of the year two years ago.
A native of Saginaw, Mich., Jones played two seasons at the University of Southern California before transferring to Northwood, a small Michigan college.
“He’s a little savage,” said English. “He never stops. He’s aggressive, and he’s a hell of a scorer.”
The signing of Jones gives the Edge eight players currently under contract. They also include returnees English, Desmond Lee and Jarryn Skeete, along with Gabe Freeman, Junior Cadougan, Drew Cushingberry and Kevin Zabo.
All but Freeman are guards.
Meanwhile, there’s still no word on the status of small forward Charles Hinkle, one of the fan favourites at Mile One Centre last season.
Hinkle, 30, finished fourth in league scoring last season, averaging 20.7 points per game.
“He’s obviously one of the guys we targeted right way,” said English of his teammate last season. “We were after him for two and a half months. But he wanted to wait and see what came about overseas.”
English says the Southern Californian was offered one of the largest contracts in the NBL Canada, “but I guess that wasn’t good enough.
“If he can find something similar or better overseas, good luck to him. We’re still interested, obviously, but because of cap restrictions, the offer I have today is not the same. That’s the way it is in any pro sport.”
Though he remains hopeful, English acknowledged, “things are kind of dead now” with regards to negotiations with Hinkle.
English flew to Montreal Wednesday, and will take in tonight’s FIBA World Cup qualifying game between Canada and Brazil in Laval, Que.
“I might target some guys there,” he said.