Josh Jones, the talented forward from Erskine Academy and Husson University, may play in the NBA Development League this year, but it won’t be with the Maine Red Claws.

Jones, a 6-foot-4 forward, was one of two players waived by the Red Claws Monday as the team began to trim its training-camp roster. Forward Jonathan Dupre, the team’s eighth-round pick from Pepperdine, was also cut.

Jones had impressed the Red Claws in a September tryout camp in Boston with his energy, versatility and athleticism, but was drafted by Rio Grande. The Claws then acquired him in a trade.

While Jones said he played “decent” in training camp, he knows he could have played better.

“I know I should have played with more confidence,” he said. “I was overthinking things and not just playing the game.”

He said he learned “to never doubt yourself and to always work hard. It doesn’t matter if you’re from a Division III school or a Division I school, when you reach this level, everyone is just as good. That’s why you were picked up.”

Red Claws Coach Dave Leitao said much the same. While Jones played well at times, he just didn’t make the plays consistently enough to stay with the team.

“We’re fortunate that the 12 guys we had in camp all had good attitudes and we had no problem with how hard they were working,” said Leitao. “Unfortunately, when you’ve got to get down to 10, you’ve got to make some hard decisions.

“We felt as the week went on, Josh lost a little confidence. That’s more than half the battle. If you lose that edge, you lose a lot of what you do.”

Leitao called Jones “a wonderful kid and a good talent.”

But, he added, “You’ve all got to perform and you’ve got to do it day-in and day-out. There’s the smallest margin of difference between being here or not.”

Jon Jennings, the president and GM of the Red Claws, added, “Let’s remember, this is his first professional opportunity. A lot of guys struggle the first time out of the gate. He’s got a great attitude and worked hard. He just did not play the way we saw him in Boston.”

Jones hopes to sign with another D-League team, as soon as next Monday, when the league opens its rosters again for waived players.

“There were a couple of teams interested before the draft,” he said.

The release of Jones and Dupre brings the roster to 11, including forward Paul Harris, who has yet to report for personal reasons.

The Red Claws must present their final 10-man roster to the league by 5 p.m. Wednesday. They open their third season at Springfield on Friday.


Staff Writer Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or at: [email protected]

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