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Mount Saint Joseph graduate Charlie Jones works way into starting role for American

Mount Saint Joseph graduate Charlie Jones works way into starting role for American
Mount Saint Joseph graduate Charlie Jones has worked his way into a starting role for American. (Bob DeChiara, USA Today Sports)

Kyle Jakobe, a Timonium-based trainer who has worked with several local athletes, posted a series of blogs on his company's website during the summer of 2013.

The title? "The Legend of Charlie Jones," a series of posts documenting Jakobe's work with Jones and the Manchester native's progression from a junior varsity backup to a Division I basketball player at American.

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"In Baltimore, we have the most spoiled, entitled and selfish basketball on the planet," Jakobe wrote in the first entry. "Kids don't get in the gym to work on their game. They play pickup. Parents don't hold their kids accountable. They threaten coaches and then shop their child from team-to-team. Coaches don't develop their players. They sit and hope and pray that one of their players happen to "make it" so that they can use the player's name for personal benefit.

"It's a never-ending cycle of how life shouldn't be done. Then you find a kid like Charlie Jones. Never have you seen a kid hungrier for success. If you give him a blueprint, you know that he will treat it like the Basketball Bible. This kid doesn't complain or make excuses. He is here to find a way to get where he wants to go."

The first blog details the first time that Jakobe saw Jones play, a game during Jones' sophomore season at Mount Saint Joseph amid the 2010-11 season that ended with Jones having been on the court for only six minutes and without him scoring a point.

Four years later, Jones is a starting forward at American, a core player for an Eagles team that is 11-9 overall and 4-4 in the Patriot League after a 68-66 loss to Army on Monday night.

"I've always had the same mindset in terms of practice and competing for playing time," said Jones, who played 13 minutes per game, primarily in a reserve role, as a freshman last season. "I knew American coming in last year was a place I could play, and I had a chance to compete, and I've always had the same aggressive mentality with getting better and trying to earn my way onto the court.

"And now that I've kind of done that, it's still the same in that aspect of always improving and getting better and trying to be more consistent and be able to bring a lot of positives every night and every time I step on the floor."

Jones, 6 feet 4, 185 pounds, is playing an average of 31 minutes per game and is averaging 7.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists.

After shooting just 41.3 percent from the field, 31.6 percent on 3-pointers and 52.9 percent from the free-throw line last season, Jones has made 51.6 percent of his field goals this year, 40 percent of his 3-pointers and 76.1 percent of his free throws.

Jones scored a then-career-high 16 points to help lift American to a 68-66 overtime win over La Salle on Dec. 16 and has posted 14 points or more in three of the Eagles' last five games. He finished with 12 points while playing all 40 minutes Monday against Army.

Jones had a career-high 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting while also posting four steals on defense to help American beat Lafayette, 78-76, on Jan. 17.

"His biggest asset and what you try to get from all your guys is consistent effort," said American coach Mike Brennan, a former assistant coach at Georgetown. "That's his biggest attribute. That's why he's on the court because I know 100 percent of the time that he's going to give 100 percent and try and compete."

Jones also has become an asset for American on defense, proving capable of guarding multiple positions.

"Last year, he learned every position," Brennan said. "So last year, guys are getting hurt and guys are getting in foul trouble, and we put him at the center position up at Colgate. He pays attention. He knows that, 'Hey, I'm getting in there somehow.' So obviously he's trying hard and working hard.

"And he's doing it every day in practice. He learned the center spot last year, and that got him in the game. He guarded a 7-footer at La Salle. He's guarding post players, and he's guarding them effectively. But he can also guard perimeter guys. … It's pretty amazing."

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At Georgetown, Brennan coached Otto Porter, who was a consensus first-team All-American and the Big East Player of the Year in 2013 before being selected third overall in the 2013 NBA draft by the Washington Wizards.

Brennan said Jones reminds him of Porter.

"I don't think the skill set, but [he reminds me of] Otto Porter at Georgetown," Brennan said. "One of the things that made him a great player in high school, college and now with the Wizards is he goes after rebounds, goes after the ball and gives a consistent effort. …

"And watching Otto in practice, he would get offensive rebound after offensive rebound. And if you're working on defense, he's the guy getting defensive rebound after defensive rebound. It's the same with Charlie. Coaches know that consistent effort is so important, and that's what you get from him."

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