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Avondre Jones Convicted In
Samurai Sword Incident--(Dec. 16, 1998)

Avondre Jones, a former USC and most recently Fresno State basketball player was convicted Tuesday of threatening a man with a Samurai sword in his apartment just hours after a game. Jones, the Bulldogs' starting center last year, and recruit Kenny Brunner were arrested in March after an acquaintance said they threatened him with a gun, beat him with Samurai swords and stole his camera and cash. The attack happened just hours after the Bulldogs defeated Memphis in the NIT and a day after Fresno State officials criticized CBS' "60 Minutes" for focusing on the legal and drug troubles of the school's athletes.

Jones was convicted on two misdemeanor counts for the threat. He also was convicted on a felony charge of having a gun while on probation and a misdemeanor marijuana charge. He was acquitted on six of the charges, including theft, extortion and assault with a deadly weapon. Jones, had been on probation for gun possession when he was arrested.  He now faces up to five years in prison at his February  3 sentencing hearing.

And for those who've been wanting an update on Kenny Brunner, the ex-Compton Dominguez star point guard who enrolled at Georgetown, played in 16 games and then transferred to Fresno State last year but never played a game for the Bulldogs, and who more recently was a ward of the LA County Men's jail on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder against LACC coach Michael Miller,   the news is that Brunner is not off the hook on this one either, and there's a separate hearing was scheduled for him later this month where he'll face a judge to determine if there is sufficient evidence to bind him over for trial in the Samurai incident.

Of Avondre's troubles, Fresno State basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian said he's glad Jones was acquitted on most of the felony charges. "I'd like to see him go on and make something out of his life," Tarkanian said. "It was unfortunate for all the pain it caused his family and the whole university." Jones dropped out of school after his arrest in March and probably will not return to Fresno State to complete his degree, Tarkanian said.

The Swish Award
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