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Commodore Conversation: Damian Jones

Damian+Jones+%2830%29+blocks+a+shot+during+the+first+half+of+Vanderbilt%27s+matchup+against+the+Florida+Gators+at+Memorial+Gym+February+3%2C+2015.
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Commodore Conversation: Damian Jones

Damian Jones (30) blocks a shot during the first half of Vanderbilt's matchup against the Florida Gators at Memorial Gym February 3, 2015.

Damian Jones (30) blocks a shot during the first half of Vanderbilt's matchup against the Florida Gators at Memorial Gym February 3, 2015.

Ziyi Liu

Damian Jones (30) blocks a shot during the first half of Vanderbilt's matchup against the Florida Gators at Memorial Gym February 3, 2015.

Ziyi Liu

Ziyi Liu

Damian Jones (30) blocks a shot during the first half of Vanderbilt's matchup against the Florida Gators at Memorial Gym February 3, 2015.

Robbie Weinstein, Sports Editor

After putting together one of the most prolific three-year careers in school history, former Vanderbilt center Damian Jones opted to enter the 2016 NBA draft, where he was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the final pick of the first round. Jones returned to Vanderbilt for the weekend of the Commodores’ 47-24 football victory over MTSU and spoke with the Vanderbilt Hustler about his summer, the future of the VU program and his new team.

Vanderbilt Hustler: Did you hear the big news?

Damian Jones: Wha, what happened?

VH: The Warriors blew a 3-1 lead in the Finals.

DJ: Hey. Next season.

VH: What have you been up to this summer?

DJ: Nothing much, just doing draft workouts, the press conference. Went up [to Oakland] and found a spot, starting to get used to the area and now I’m here.

VH: Have you been here at all, or have you been almost all in Oakland?

DJ: I’ve been mostly in Oakland. I moved out there on the 21st, and I just came back for the weekend.

VH: Have you met the new coaching staff?

DJ: Yeah, I met them actually before I left, in April. They’re real good guys.

VH: So how do you think the team is looking this year and how do you think the new coaching staff will be different?

DJ: They run a whole different way of offense, so it’s like more freedom within the offense. I think it’ll work out well with them and with the players; they really seem to like and enjoy it. It’s a different team, a new system, but it seems like it’s gonna work out well.

VH: How would you sum up last year?

DJ: It wasn’t as much as it should’ve been. It sucked, but hey. It is what it is, and you just gotta move on from it.

VH: In Oakland, how much have you been working with the players and the coaches?

DJ: So I’ve been doing a lot of rehab, and there’s a lot of trying to get my arm strength back ready. I just got cleared to shoot and stuff, so I’ll start doing that. Just been hanging around the guys, trying to get used to them.

VH: Did you get any ridiculous questions at the combine and in interviews?

DJ: Not really, no. I haven’t gotten any crazy questions. You always prep for, like, the random question that can be asked, but there was nothing too crazy.

VH: Get any math problems?

DJ: Yeah, it was like, “A bat and a ball, the ball costs 10 cents more than the bat.” Something like that.

VH: When are you supposed to be back on the court, like contact stuff, and get into games?

DJ: Probably like around December.

VH: Is there a particular player you’re excited to go against?

DJ: Nah, not really. Just ready to take on everyone.

VH: You gonna be back for the Christmas day game?

DJ: Possibly, yeah. We’ll see.

VH: Have you been in contact with Wade [Baldwin IV] at all?

DJ: Yeah, I’ve been talking to him. I talked to him like two weeks ago, [that] was the last time I talked to him. Just chatting it up with him and see how he’s doing.

VH: Have you been in contact with the people here, like Bryce Drew and everyone?

DJ: Yeah, they congratulated me on being drafted and stuff like that but not as much. I really talk to Luke [Kornet] and all them.

VH: Going into the draft, did you know beforehand that the Warriors were very interested in you and that that was a very likely destination?

DJ: Yeah, they mentioned it to my agent that they had interest, and that if I was available they would pick me up.

VH: What’s it gonna be like when you first get on that court and you’re playing with [Kevin Durant], [Stephen Curry], and Klay [Thompson] and all these superstars?

DJ: Just try to perform, do the best you can. There are a lot of great players on the team, so just try to perform at your top level.

VH: You wore No. 30 in college, and Steph has it now, you were drafted No. 30 and your birthday is on the 30th. Was there any mentioning to him like, “Hey, this is my number…”?

DJ: Oh, no. I’m not bringing that up. [laughs]

VH: You were a big Kobe fan, what’d you think of his last game?

DJ: Amazing. I was so hyped.

VH: Two-time Shaqtin’ a Fool MVP JaVale McGee is now on the Warriors, are you excited to work with him?

DJ: I mean, I’m not sure how it’s gonna turn out and stuff, but we’ll see.

VH: With Festus leaving, have you been in contact with him about the Warriors and their culture at all?

DJ: Yeah, I’ve been talking to Festus a lot over the summer. He just told me different stuff about the team and the area.

VH: Did you chip in for Luke’s [No. 15 Warriors] jersey?

DJ: Yeah. [laughs]

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