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OKC Thunder: Perry Jones III says he's in 'perfect spot', knee is a nonissue

Concerns about his meniscus caused former Baylor standout Perry Jones III to fall in the NBA Draft, but Jones says “my knee is fine” and he's ready to work hard and learn from his new teammates.
BY DARNELL MAYBERRY Published: June 30, 2012

Added Jones: “My knee's fine. It didn't affect me at Baylor. My knee is doing great.”

You'd have a hard time questioning anything else about Jones.

Highlight reels show the 6-11 forward doing things young men his size shouldn't be able to do. He dribbles like a guard, runs like a deer and jumps like he's got pogo sticks for legs.

But in his first public appearance in his new host city, Jones didn't try to win over the crowd by making claims about how his world-class athleticism would help the Thunder win games. Instead, he turned heads by talking about how hard he was willing to work to fit in.

“The hardest part is playing to the level of intensity that Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook set,” Jones said. “They set a standard for working hard here. Definitely living up to their standard, you've got to be able to bring it every day. So just be in the gym a lot to try to stay up to par with them. Hopefully, I can help the team in any way shape or form.”

When peppered with questions about the lack of assertiveness he showed on the court in college, Jones simply turned the page and attempted to move past that chapter of his career by focusing on how he can improve now.

“I think I've got to play smart,” Jones said. “Definitely learn from the veterans. This is a time for me to learn, and I know these guys are going to help me be the best player (I can be) and use my assertiveness to the best of my abilities.”

Above all, Jones came off as appreciative.

He thanked everyone from his mother, Terri, to the fans in attendance at his news conference, to the Thunder organization for giving him an opportunity.

At times, Jones sounded like he was still in college, about to get a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to play pickup with his favorite players.

“My favorite part about the Thunder is they have fun but they play hard,” Jones said. “I think they're the most exciting team to watch. I'll pick their game over any other game any day.”

Asked how he could come in and contribute, Jones responded as if he was in awe of the roster.

“That's hard to say right now,” he said, “because the Thunder has everything.”

It's as if this goose doesn't get that he's golden.

“He's very humble,” explained Jones' agent, Bill Duffy. “He's had some challenging circumstances in his upbringing, so I don't think he takes anything for granted.

“He's just a really good person, and he's one who's going to definitely acclimate well to the organization and the culture here. In my mind, this is the perfect fit.”