Josh Jones won’t leave for Germany for two weeks, but he’s already touted on the web site of the SC Rist Wedel basketball club. The site describes Jones as an athletic and versatile wing that can play shooting guard or either forward position.

An Erskine Academy graduate, Jones will join SC Rist Wedel, a Hamburg-based club in Germany’s ProB North Division.

“My challenge is to prove I can play in a higher league,” Jones said.

Jones spent the spring playing for the Albany Legends of the Independent Basketball Association. The Legends lost the league championship game to the Kankakee County Soldiers, 150-116. Jones scored 19 points and grabbed four rebounds in the game.

In a 136-134 semifinal win over the Kenosha Ballers, Jones scored 21 points and pulled down seven boards.

The Legends went 12-6 in the regular season. The 6-foot-4 Jones went to Albany expecting to work on his perimeter game. Instead, as the season progressed, he found himself playing in the post.

“They ended up putting me down at the four (position),” Jones said. “But I was able to rebound and push the ball. My shooting came along.”

The North Atlantic Conference Player of the Year as a senior at Husson, Jones was drafted in the sixth round of last year’s NBA Developmental League draft by the Rio Grande Vipers, who promptly traded him to the Maine Red Claws. The Red Claws waived Jones late in their the preseason camp, and Jones called the experience an eye-opener.

“I knew I could play there. I just psyched myself out,” Jones said.

Jones caught the eye of SC Rist Wedel coach Ozhan Gurel when Gurel saw video of Jones playing for Husson University against Williams College in the 2011 NCAA Division III tournament.

After seeing recent tape of Jones playing for Albany, Gurel offered Jones a spot on the team. Jones’ contract includes housing, a car, and a phone to use while he’s in Germany for 10 months.

“They liked what they saw,” Jones said.

Jones speaks no German, but said English is prevalent in Hamburg. He’ll be one of three American players on the SC Rist Wedel roster.

Just as he used his experience in Albany as a springboard, Jones hopes to use his time in Germany as a springboard to a higher league. Jones said he’d like another crack at the D-League. Jones will leave Albany next week and come back to Maine to see friends and family before heading to Europe.

“It’s time to go over there and have a great stepping-stone season,” Jones said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242
[email protected]

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