Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

June 29, 2012

Thunder drafts Jones III with 28th pick

OKLAHOMA CITY — A year ago, Perry Jones III was considered a can't-miss NBA draft choice, a sure bet among the top five.

He fell a long way Thursday night, all the way to No. 28 overall. The good news is that the 6-foot-11 Baylor sophomore will join an Oklahoma City Thunder team that just completed an appearance in the NBA Finals.

"It wouldn't matter to me if they were a contender or not. They are somebody I could see myself playing with," Jones said at the draft site in New Jersey. "They like to run the floor real well, and they are one of the best teams, and I know I can learn from them.

"What's better than learning from one of the best teams? They were in the finals. They have great players, great coach. This is just an opportunity for me to grow."

Jones was particularly excited about the chance to play alongside Kevin Durant, who has won the last three NBA scoring titles.

"He's my favorite player," Jones said. "So therefore, for me to be under his wing is going to (do) wonders for me."

Jones averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds last season as a sophomore as Baylor made it to the round of eight in the NCAA tournament. Those were remarkably similar numbers to his production from his freshman year, which ended with him deciding to return for another year with the Bears despite the potential to be an early first-round pick.

Part of his slide in the draft was attributed to reports that Jones has an issue with the meniscus in one of his knees, and he was asked if his decision to stay in college may have cost him.

"Maybe it did. Maybe it didn't," Jones said on television after his selection. "I just know I'm going to play hard for the team I'm playing for right now."

General manager Sam Presti said the Thunder wouldn't know if Jones needs surgery on the knee until team doctors are able to examine him but they were pleased with his workout at the NBA draft combine in Chicago.

"We've looked at all the information that we've had available and we wouldn't have selected him unless we felt comfortable with all of the information," Presti said.

Presti had scouted Jones all the way back to his first college practice at Baylor after he was a McDonald's and Parade All-American out of the Dallas suburb of Duncanville, Texas. He also saw him play against Oklahoma in Norman in January.

"We didn't enter this draft thinking that Perry Jones would be there at 28 for us," Presti said.

Although Jones' production plateaued last season, assistant manager Troy Weaver said the Thunder thought the key was that Baylor's win total increased.

"Everybody looks at his talent and says, 'This guy should be dominant,'" Weaver said. "But, as Sam said, this guy plays within teamwork and tries to blend with players and help his team win ballgames."

Jones joins a team without many immediate needs but he could become an even more valuable piece if the Thunder aren't able to re-sign NBA blocks leader Serge Ibaka, who is eligible for a contract extension starting next month and would be a restricted free agent after next season.

Ibaka, Sixth Man of the Year James Harden and backup point guard Eric Maynor are all in that same category — under contract for next season but up in the air beyond that, with the Thunder trying to figure out who they can afford to keep with All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook already locked into expensive, long-term deals.

Veteran reserves Derek Fisher, Nazr Mohammed and Royal Ivey are unrestricted free agents this summer.

If Mohammed isn't re-signed, that creates an immediate opening in the frontcourt that could be filled by Jones or Cole Aldrich, the No. 11 pick in the 2010 draft who has played sparingly in his first two NBA seasons.

"I just wanted the opportunity to play anywhere, no matter if I got picked next round," Jones said. "Whichever team I'm going to, I'm just happy, because that's the team that I actually like and enjoy watching. I know those guys are going to help me as a player and as a person."

The Thunder started the night without a second-round pick, having traded it to Minnesota prior to last season to get reserve Lazar Hayward.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • ropin-make-a-wish.jpg Dirteater, others help Make-A-Wish

    The event will benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Tickets are $5, with kids 6 and under free.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Photo-for-Shinn-story.jpg Coaches preview Sooners season

    Toby Rowland addressed the elephant in the room even before Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and offensive coordinator Josh Heupel arrived at Journey Church on Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Date set for Keys football physicals

    Before scheduled practices can begin in order to prepare for the season, players must first receive a physical.
    Next Tuesday, Aug. 5, Keys High School will be administering physicals in the high school cafeteria.

    July 31, 2014

  • Keys-Dakota.jpg Playing both sides of the line

    Recently, Keys High School football standout Dakota Matlock was nearly severely injured in a terrifying car wreck.

    Matlock is coming off a stellar gridiron season for Keys High School. On offense, Matlock ran for over 1,000 yards for the Cougars. In his sophomore season, Matlock led Keys in tackles from the safety position.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bassmaster.jpg Crossing, and fishing, the Delaware

    Bassmaster Elite Series anglers to compete Aug. 7

    BASS has fished out of some legendary venues over the years (including Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans), but never Philadelphia, which is host of the Bassmaster Elite at Delaware River, Aug. 7-10, 2014.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mison.jpg Mixon’s attorney says incident with woman self-defense

    The attorney for Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon says the incident that left a 20-year-old female OU student with multiple facial fractures was a case of self-defense.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hooper.jpg Sparking the flame

    Sequoyah High School’s Justin Hooper looking to lead this year

    Last season was Justin’s last chance to play alongside Cody at Sequoyah High School.
    Justin had to battle to win the Indians starting tailback. The coaching staff did not know who was going to be the Indians starting running back coming into fall practice.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • NSU-fishing-team.jpg NSU teams compete in fishing tournament

    Three teams from Northeastern State University’s Bass Fishing Team competed in the Fishing League Worldwide College Fishing Tournament on Grand Lake in Grove on Saturday, June 21.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Johnson, East win easily at All-State

    Jake Johnson was able to hold off Lawton MacArthur’s Trent Meisel at the Class 5A state tournament in May. On Monday at the All-State tournament at Cherokee Hills Golf Club, Johnson had it much easier against Meisel.

    July 29, 2014

  • McMillan-blackboard.jpg Hometown brothers team up for RiverHawks football

    Northeastern State’s football program will include a pair of hometown brothers for the 2014 season.
    Mason McMillan returns for his sophomore season, and this year he will be reunited with his younger brother, Kourtland. The brothers graduated from Tahlequah High School – Mason in 2013, followed by Kourtland in 2014. At Tahlequah, Mason and Kourtland shared the gridiron for one season.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

Do you think "blue laws" related to Sunday alcohol sales in Oklahoma should be relaxed? Choose the option that most closely reflects your opinion.

Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars, and liquor stores should be open.
Alcoholic drinks should be sold Sundays in restaurants and bars only; liquor stores should stay closed.
Liquor stores should be open Sundays, but drinks should not be served anywhere on Sundays.
The law should remain as it is now; liquor stores should be closed, and drinks should be served on Sundays according to county option.
No alcohol should be sold or served publicly on Sundays.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Stocks