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24 Seconds presented by Ibotta: Herbert Jones on hoops career, defense

New Orleans guard/forward Herbert Jones has achieved an NBA rarity this season, leading the Pelicans in total minutes despite being a rookie. It wasn’t clear how much the University of Alabama product would contribute when the 2021-22 season began, but the 23-year-old has proven to be a spectacular choice as a second-round pick, selected No. 35 overall. Jones discussed his hoops background and a few other topics with Pelicans.com for the final weekly “24 Seconds” article of the campaign:

Pelicans.com: When did you know that playing in the NBA was a possibility for you?

Jones: I would have to say going into my junior year of college. People had me on mock drafts before, but mentally and physically, I just didn’t think I (was ready). Then going into my junior year, I just worked on my body a lot and played against some guys that were in the NBA. That’s when it kind of set in, (that) I could play in the NBA.

Pelicans.com: How would you describe what you’re like away from basketball?

Jones: I’m a pretty simple guy. I don’t do a whole lot off the court besides fishing. I play my video games. I just hang out with friends. I don't have too many hobbies and I’m super laidback and chill.

Pelicans.com: What’s it like being on a team with Kira Lewis Jr. again?

Jones: It’s fun. It kind of gave me a sense of relief to know I was going to be a teammate of someone I was already in school with. Coming down to New Orleans, being in a new state, being in a new place, I could reach out to him about anything if I had any problems. Reach out to him for advice.

Pelicans.com: What’s it like to play for Willie Green?

Jones: I love him. The way he coaches, he expects everybody to play hard and connected and together the whole game. I like that about him.

Pelicans.com: Defense is obviously one of the things that you do very well. Is defense a state of mind or is it just continued effort? Is it easy to say “I’m tired, I don't feel like playing defense”? Do you have to always be in it emotionally, mentally and physically?

Jones: I feel that it's a mixture of both the mentality and just wanting to do it. And I feel like defense is a part of the game, so why not want to be able to play defense and offense? But, it is easy to say, you know what, I'm tired, I don't want to play defense. You’ve got to have the mindset going in every night that you're going to give it your all on the defensive end. Not saying you might not come out victorious, but if you know you gave it your all, then you just live with the results.