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SPT:  USF's Jones makes gains in workouts

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USF's Jones makes gains in workouts

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer

Published June 28, 2006

TAMPA - Want an indication that tonight, USF senior Solomon Jones will be the Bulls' first NBA draft pick in 20 years?

Jones worked out with the New Jersey Nets on Monday morning, and they liked what they saw enough they kept him around for a second day of workouts. It's the last flurry of a busy three months since Jones' season ended, hard work that coach Robert McCullum expects to culminate with Jones' name being called tonight.

"All of his workouts have gone very well, and he's certainly solidified his stock in this draft," McCullum said.

Jones, 6 feet 10 and 230 pounds, played primarily at center for the Bulls, but he'll be a power forward in the NBA, so he has worked to show scouts what he can do facing the basket, showcasing his athleticism and one of the draft's most impressive wingspans at 7 feet, 4.75 inches. He has worked out for at least a dozen teams, and if selected, he'll be the highest draft pick in school history and the first since Curtis Kitchen went in the sixth round in 1986. His success may help bring other NBA-caliber players to USF.

"Recruiting is the biggest piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a program, but next to that is player development," McCullum said. "The growth he's shown speaks volumes to that."

- GREG AUMAN, Times staff writer

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