24 Seconds presented by Ibotta: Herbert Jones at midpoint of rookie year
This month as part of our “24 Seconds” Q&A series, Pelicans.com is checking in with New Orleans’ rookies to ask them about their adjustment to the professional level, at the halfway mark of the 2021-22 regular season. This week’s edition features one of the NBA’s biggest success stories from last year’s draft, Herbert Jones, who was picked No. 35 overall but has emerged as an every-game starter for the Pelicans:
Pelicans.com: What has the adjustment been like for you from college to the NBA in terms of the game schedule and playing so many more games?
Jones: I feel like the veteran players, support staff, athletic trainers and coaches, they’ve all helped the rookies adjust to playing so many games. It’s a big adjustment and you do get tired, but they keep harping on taking care of your body, knowing how long to work out, making sure you stay on top of things as far as your physical health. It hasn’t been too gruesome in terms of what my body has gone through, but it’s a big adjustment. The mental part is the bigger adjustment, because in college you have a week, or at least two or three days, to get ready for (the next opponent), but here you play one night and might have another game the next.
Pelicans.com: Do you prefer this schedule of playing so many more games, compared to college?
Jones: [smiles] Yeah. I love hooping. I mean I love practicing too, but what basketball player doesn’t like to play in real games? So I’d say I love this schedule a lot more than college.
Pelicans.com: How much of a change are the travel demands in the NBA compared to college?
Jones: The travel hasn’t really affected my body as much as I thought it would. We definitely do travel a whole lot more because of the amount of games.
Pelicans.com: Have you had one of those moments yet where you wake up in the morning in a hotel and can’t remember what city you’re in?
Jones: [smiles] No, I always try to stay on top of where I’m at. But I do sometimes lose track of what day it is.
Pelicans.com: What’s the experience been like of going against elite players for 40-plus games as a rookie?
Jones: It’s been fun. A lot of them I try to use as learning experiences moving forward. Facing a lot of prime-time guys super early in my career, I try to take bits and pieces of what I can and learn from it.