The wait appears over for Kevin Jones. And it wasn’t a long one.
The Mount Vernon High School product was recalled from the Developmental League on Tuesday by the Cleveland Cavaliers. I talked to the 6-foot-8 forward this evening. He remains unclear whether or not he will dress, but could make his NBA debut as soon as Wednesday night when the Cavs host the Bulls.
“There was no indication of anything about the whole situation,” Jones said Tuesday night by phone. “But I’m just going to try and take advantage of my opportunity and do the best I can for however long I’m here.”
The former Section 1 Mr. Basketball learned to take advantage of his every opportunity the hard way. He went undrafted last June despite a record-setting senior season at West Virginia and was one of the final cuts at Cleveland’s training camp in October.
Jones signed a deal with the D-League Canton Charge and continued to post impressive numbers. He had four double-doubles in five games and averaged 23.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game – both good for third in the league.
With other organizations showing interest, the Cavs signed Jones to an NBA deal on Nov. 29 and reassigned him to Canton.
“It definitely was a long road, but it was all worth it in the end,” Jones said. “I feel like I’m in a good position to make a lot of noise right now. I’m just going to wait for my opportunity.”
Jones first learned of the Cavs’ plan to recall him Monday night from Canton general manager Mike Gansey, who is also a former West Virginia star. He arrived in Cleveland in time for Tuesday’s practice.
Afterward, coach Byron Scott told reporters Jones still needed to learn the offense but had continued to impress.
“Even today, not knowing what we’re doing, he just has a nose for the ball,” Scott said. “He made a couple of nice offensive rebounds and tipped ‘em back in, knocked down his little jump shot when he had it.”
“I’ve been around those guys for a whole month during training camp, but there’s nothing like the feeling that you’re going to be there for a while,” Jones said. “It felt like home.”
The injury-plagued Cavs may be an ideal spot for Jones. They have started the season 4-14, playing much of it without point guard Kyrie Irving (broken finger). Rookie guard Dion Waiters (ankle) is questionable for tomorrow night’s game against Chicago.
Cleveland waived forward Luke Harangody to clear room for Jones last week. Harangody still needed more time to recover from knee surgery.
“I just needed an opportunity to show what I can do,” he said. “I know a lot of people may’ve had questions about my size or athleticism or how I would stack up against taller players. I think I showed myself pretty well. Canton really gave me an opportunity to shine and show my talents.”