ORLANDO – Solomon Jones likes to use the word definitely.
This half-man, half-giant with a too-big-for-his-size heart definitely likes to use the word definitely.
And this 6-foot-10 force is moving up. Performing in front of nationally recognized coaches such as Larry Brown and George Karl, the Solomon of Swat is ready for the next level.
“Definitely, you know?” Jones said in his usual low and calm voice. “(The NBA Pre-Draft camp) has definitely been a blessing, and I think everyone out here has definitely been giving it their all.”
See? He probably can’t even help it – probably doesn’t realize he even does it. In listening to an entire interview, after talking to him after every loss last season – all 22, if you lost count – Jones has definitely continued to do it.
And he’ll probably continue to do it.
More than likely he’ll use that 10-letter word sometime during June 28, which is the day he’ll be asked by an NBA team to go play.
Jones claims he’s not thinking of the draft, that he’s ignoring all those mock drafts, but he also says he’s ready for the name-calling at Madison Square Garden.
“Having my name called (at the draft) will definitely be satisfying,” Jones said. “It definitely would have to be for anybody, because after all the hard work, through the four year of college, it would be satisfying because then you knew it had definitely paid off.”
Drive and motivation – Jones has those down. Predictability – he proves that with the way he speaks. But hey, be predictable with a game average of 14 points and 10 rebounds and there’s about 20 NBA teams that wouldn’t mind.
Which would make Jones’ dreams a definite reality.
“If you got big dreams, then you definitely got to wake up every morning and work,” Jones said. “You may not always feel like it, but you got to get up, and you just can’t play when you don’t feel like it.”
Jones has a more help than the next guy, though. He’s got a best friend on his side. Former basketball player Bradley Mosley, who died Oct. 29, 2005 of renal cancer, is someone whom Jones misses and draws inspiration from.
“Definitely think about him, every day,” Jones said an solemn voice. “It (was) his dream to make it to (the NBA), so that motivates me, but having his courage and spirit (on my side) really drives me.
“He’s always on the court with me.”
Jones said he misses the little things, such as missed calls or text messages to and from Mosley, that he would have received at the Pre-Draft Camp if his friend was still with him. They would talk about this ride to the top every day.
“It’s definitely something he would want for me,” Jones said.
Jones has it all now – all that drive without boundaries. And with the help of an agent to get him into a prominent camp and a missed friend who could never be replaced to keep him going and to get him up at the crack of dawn to follow his dream, Jones is ready to become an NBA personality – and the highest USF player ever taken.
“Definitely ready,” Jones said. “I said it before: I’ve been waiting a long time for this opportunity, and now that it’s here, you’ve got to take advantage of it. When you’re a kid and playing around on the neighborhood courts, you want to be in the NBA. But then when it gets close to actually happening, then you definitely start working real hard for it.”
Well, that settles it. He really does love that word. Thinking about it, Jones probably does it on purpose. Uses it like currency. Uses it to help build his confidence in a land of goliaths.
“If you’re not confident (to make the NBA), then it won’t happen.”