DeQuan Jones is Magic's feel-good story

Let's face it: After going through the Dwightmare, the firing of execs, coaches and scouts and some considerable embarassment, the Magic were due some good karma this season.

And there's no better feel-good story on the roster than DeQuan Jones.

If you're tired of spoiled, misguided superstars, DQ reminds us what's great about sports.

Jones had little chance of making the team, it seemed, after the UM forward was snubbed in the draft

"The draft...that was the longest three hours of my life," he said. "That was tough."

DQ proved to be tougher.

He beat the long odds to make the roster, and his hard work, perseverance and appreciation is refreshing.

The Magic had so many guaranteed contracts on the books that it appeared Jones was merely a training-camp body.

"Honestly, I didn't think about that. I couldn't think about that. I just had to play my best," he said.

Jones' athleticism caught the Magic's attention when they invited him to participate on their summer-league team. He once dunked over a motorcycle in a NCAA dunk contest.

The Magic ate the last two years of Quentin Richardson's contract to effectively make room for Jones at small forward.

Then, when veteran Hedo Turkoglu sustained a broken hand in the opener, Jones was thrust into the starting lineup on Sunday against the Phoenix Suns.
Jones didn't have much impact on the game, but the game had an impact on him.

"It was surreal," he said.

Teammates, recognizing how much his NBA debut meant to him, welcomed DQ when he came to the bench in the first quarter.

"Jameer (Nelson) said, 'Welcome to the NBA, rook,'" Jones said.

Yes, rook. Welcome to the NBA. And thanks for reminding us what the journey is all about.

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