DeQuan Jones won't forget what happened June 28.
He waited for NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver to announce that a team had drafted him in the second round.
And he waited.
But Silver never uttered the words "DeQuan Jones."
In retrospect, that painful night might have been the best thing that ever happened to Jones, a 6-foot-8 swingman who played four seasons for the Miami Hurricanes. That excruciating disappointment fueled him and propelled him on an unlikely journey to a spot on the Orlando Magic's regular-season roster.
"I'm ecstatic," Jones said.
Jones could not stop smiling when general manager Rob Hennigan and assistant general manager Scott Perry sat him down inside Amway Center on Saturday and told him he had made the team.
All the extra effort — the late nights shooting jumpers in a quiet gym, the extra running under Florida's harsh sun, the intense focus studying game video with Magic coaches — paid off.
He played for the Magic's summer league squad and accepted an invitation to Magic training camp without any guarantees, only a pledge from team officials that he would receive an opportunity.
"He came in and worked really hard," Hennigan said. "He was consistent. He listened. He stayed late. He put himself in a position to really take advantage of that opportunity, and we're proud of him."
The 22-year-old appeared in all of Orlando's preseason exhibitions, and he embraced the "dirty-work" chores of defending dangerous wing players and scrapping for loose basketballs.
He also showed some flash. He often punctuated fastbreaks with highlight-reel dunks that demonstrated his uncommon leaping ability. He sometimes sped past defenders as he dribbled into the paint.
Jacque Vaughn and his assistant coaches noticed that athleticism, and they view Jones as someone who has the potential to defend opposing small forwards and shooting guards and point guards. If Jones can deliver, he will be a valuable asset to the Magic.
"I think that's the most important aspect for young guys when they come into the league: define a role as quickly as possible," Vaughn said. "That's how you stay in this league."
Jones accepted that role.
It remains unclear how, exactly, he will fit into the Magic's playing rotation. Arron Afflalo and J.J. Redick are ensconced as the team's top two shooting guards. Hedo Turkoglu likely will be backed up by rookie Maurice Harkless once Vaughn feels Harkless is fully ready after offseason sports-hernia surgery.
But the Magic are in rebuilding mode, and team officials will give youngsters chances for on-the-job-training.
"Whatever the team needs," Jones said. "I know defensively they're going to need me to be a defensive stopper."
Veteran players, including Afflalo and Quentin Richardson, who was cut to make room for Jones, gave Jones advice during breaks in exhibition games.
That meant something to Jones.
So did a moment Friday after the final exhibition game. Jones returned to his hotel to find someone waiting outside the room.
It was his dad, Clady Jones, who had made a surprise trip to Orlando to encourage his son.
It just so happened that Saturday was Clady's birthday.
They had plenty to celebrate.
DeQuan sent out a Twitter message after he learned he had made the team.
He wrote: "If my story teaches you anything, it's to never give up."