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Timberwolves Face Off Against Tyus Jones For 1st Time

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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It’s going to be a bit weird watching Wednesday night’s Timberwolves and Grizzlies game seeing Tyus Jones go up against Minnesota.

Jones was born and raised in Minnesota. He was a star at Apple Valley High School and Minnesotans were watching on the national stage as he led Duke to an NCAA Championship in 2015. 

He was then traded to the Wolves in a draft-night deal with the Cavaliers. He had the chance to do something very few professional athletes get to do: Play for their hometown team.

“I said from the beginning that it was a dream come true and something you never imagine happening,” Jones said via Grizzlies.com. “When I entered the draft, you’re always assuming you’re going to move across the country to who knows where. But for me, getting drafted by my hometown team – a lot of people don’t ever get a chance like that – I was blessed and very fortunate.”

Jones spent the first four years of his career playing with the Wolves. In 247 games, Jones started 34 games and averaged 5.1 points and 3.4 assists per game. In 2018-19, he set the NBA record while posting a 6.9-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

We were reminded about the business of basketball this offseason when Jones signed as a restricted free agent with the Grizzlies. Jones has, and will forever have, special relationships inside the Timberwolves organization. He’s close with the Saunders family and is friends with guys like Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.

But for the fans, that’s probably where his tie is the strongest. Jones is a player who a lot of people in the state have watched for the last decade, grow from a middle school star to a point guard in the NBA.

Through six games in Memphis, Jones is averaging a career-high 7.3 points and 4.5 assists per game serving as Ja Morant’s backup.

Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders has a deep relationship with Jones and his family. But for now, Saunders is focusing on the game, rather than an individual. With that being said, there’s a 100 percent chance of a big hug between the two before and after Wednesday night’s game at the FedExForum.

“It’s not the first time that a player that I care about and think very highly of, we’ll be competing against,” Saunders said. “We’re all competitive, so, I’m sure he’s looking forward to competing against us and we’re looking forward to competing against the Grizzlies.”

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. CT on Fox Sports North and 830 WCCO.

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