Former College Scoring Leader Awaits His Chance at Guard

At tonight's road game against the Phoenix Suns, point guard Charles Jones will be sitting on the Clipper bench, waiting for an opportunity that may never come.

Jones, a two-time NCAA scoring leader, is trying to make the team as a free agent.

"You just have to be ready," said Jones, who led the nation in scoring twice, 1996-97 and 1997-98, at Long Island University. "One thing I've learned is that you can't control anything that happens in this game. So I try not to worry about anything but playing on the court."

In college, Jones played point guard and averaged 7.6 assists as a senior but, of course, was better known as a scorer.

"My coach told me that he wanted me to take 25 shots to give our team a chance to win," said Jones, who transferred to LIU from Rutgers. "He wanted me to take the majority of the shots."

Jones, one of only seven players to lead the NCAA in scoring in consecutive years, is on the bubble, along with Scott Brooks and Charles Smith, for the final backcourt spot on the Clippers' 12-man roster.

"I like [the Clipper offense] because one thing Coach [Chris] Ford wants you to do is run," said Jones, who was in camp with Chicago last season as an undrafted free agent but was waived.

With the Clippers, Jones has watched Ford also give minutes at the point to Lamar Odom and Derek Anderson.

"It's a tough situation for him but . . . when he's given the opportunity [he has] to try and do something," Ford said. "Camps are not always fair. But he's done everything we've asked him to."


Another guard, Eric Murdock, who has not played in any exhibition game because of an ankle sprain, practiced Monday and is expected to play tonight. Center Keith Closs did not work out because of back spasms and is day to day.

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