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Jones says old form not far

Jones says old form not far

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Creighton basketball coach Greg McDermott had seen enough.

Josh Jones had just bricked an ill-timed jumper. It was time to make a change. But as soon as McDermott summoned Kaleb Korver to the scorer’s table, Jones made amends.

The sophomore guard snatched the ball from Samford’s Josh Bedwell at midcourt and streaked down the floor for a layup. The play sparked a 15-2 first-half run in the Bluejays’ 58-40 win on Wednesday night.

“Sometimes when Josh goes on the floor, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” McDermott said. “But what you do know for sure is that he’s going to provide energy. He’s going to play with passion.”

With that thought in mind, McDermott decided to keep Jones in the game. Jones added another bucket two minutes later. Not a big deal? Meant the world to Jones.

“I felt like he trusted me,” Jones said.

And for the former Omaha Central star, he’ll take every positive he can these days.

Jones hasn’t come close to meeting the lofty expectations he had after his finish last season. He scored in bunches, even starting the final seven games. The Bluejays went 5-2 in that stretch.

But instead of building on last year, Jones has been stuck in neutral. He admits to struggling with McDermott’s system. So much so that Jones, who is averaging about two points per game, was on the scout team a few weeks ago. His confidence? It was almost nil.

Jones, though, has had much improved practices lately. He’s made shots, guarded hard and, perhaps most importantly, he’s back to being one of the team’s best communicators.

“I think I can be a big contribution to this team,” he said. “I just need to get back to being the Josh Jones that everybody knows.”

Can’t come soon enough for the Bluejays, who enter Missouri Valley Conference play next week. If Creighton wants to be a contender, it will need consistent production from its guards. Better shooting, too.

That’s where Jones comes in. He’s 0 for 16 from 3-point range, but every Creighton fan knows that shooting should be Jones’ strength. He made 22 3s a season ago. Even made 10 in one game at Central.

Ah, Central. Glory days for Jones.

Perhaps wanting to get his mojo back, Jones is sporting an old ‘do that goes back to his high school days. Look at the back of his head, and you’ll see three lines shaved in. One each for the three straight state titles he won.

Might be working already.

Following the Samford game, Jones was all smiles. A productive 10 minutes had the lefty in the right frame of mind again.

“I’m not lacking confidence anymore,” he said. “It’s just a matter of time and I’ll be back.”

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