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Damian Jones steps in again for Festus Ezeli

Damian Jones is used to the position he finds himself in with the Warriors. In fact, it’s the same position he found himself in college at Vanderbilt — taking over for a departed Festus Ezeli.

Jones started his Commodore career in 2013 one year after Ezeli graduated, and now he follows in Ezeli’s footsteps again, this time to the NBA.

It’s something that Jones even finds crazy:

“Yeah it’s weird. [Laughs] it’s cool though, I got to meet him when he brought the championship trophy to Vanderbilt. He’s a real good guy; he always gives me tips after games. He just encourages me, he’s real good people.”

The similarities don’t end there. Both are 6-foot-11, and both were drafted with the last pick in the first round by the Warriors. So it makes sense that they are similar players on the court too, right?

Nope. That’s where the similarities end Jones says:

“I feel like we are different players, he’s a real good player but we have different body types. I feel like I can move my feet a lot more on the perimeter and I think we have different post games.”

Unfortunately for Jones — and the rest of Dub Nation — he wasn’t able to show off his athleticism at Summer League, as he suffered a torn pectoral muscle during the pre-draft process.

The injury kept the big man in a sling in Las Vegas and for the next two and a half weeks, but he was still able to meet the staff and hang out with his teammates.

But Jones is itching to get on the court:

“It sucks because you can just watch. You want to play a part and help and just do something, but I can’t do much. I just dribble the basketball on the sideline. I really want to get out there and play.”

Ezeli was himself a strong pick-and-roll defender, so if Jones can be a better perimeter defender, the Dubs will have gotten themselves another steal at the end of the first round.

During his college career, Jones showed a promising face up game as well as the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket, even hitting a few mid-range jumpers.

He shot 56 percent from the block his junior year and finished with per-40 minute averages of 21.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks.

He’s also super-athletic for a big man, as he posted the third-highest standing vertical leap, 36 inches, out of all players at the 2016 draft combine.

All indications are that he’ll be ready for the season however, so everyone will have to just wait to get a glimpse of the Warriors first-round pick. Although Jones has to do some waiting of his own, as the newly turned 21-year-old should be out celebrating while he’s in Vegas.

But Jones says he’s holding off for now:

“Nah, not with the sling on I can’t. [Laughs] but maybe next year for Summer League.”

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