Relatively unknown heading into this years preseason, former Miami Hurricane DeQuan Jones burst onto the national scene with his jaw-dropping theatrics above the rim.
He impressed head coaches and fans alike with his uncanny explosiveness, defensive prowess and high motor. So much so that the Magic cut two veterans, Quentin Richarson and Justin Harper, in favor of Jones.
Head coach Jacque Vaughn spoke very highly of Jones prior to the decision saying:
“Offensively, just being able to get to the rim was impressive, His athleticism — right hand, left hand finishes — his ability to put pressure on the defense by just filling the lanes. So he’s done a good job of just maximizing his skill set. And defensively, we all have our challenges, and he’s growing as a basketball player. But he’s done a good job.” (via Josh Robbins, Orlando Sentinel)
“Good job” was apparently a slight understatement as Jones will now spend the next season suiting up in the blue in white. And on upside alone, it would hardly be a stretch to think he could make a very positive impact in time.
When he heard the news, Jones took to Twitter:
Underplayed. Suspended. Undrafted. If my story teaches you anything, it’s to never give up.
— Dequan Jones (@DequanJones5) October 28, 2012
At the very worst, this is a much needed feel good story for a franchise and a city that is hurting after the loss of Dwight Howard.
At the very best, Jones work ethic and “never give up” attitude could lend itself to a major revival in the Magic’s locker room and front office. But most importantly, its fans.