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February 17, 2017

Derrick Jones, Jr.

New Orleans, Louisiana

Q. Stacking up some of your competition. What do you think about DeAndre Jordan's chances? How do you think he kind of stacks up?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I mean, I don't go in underestimating nobody. Everybody is here for a reason. The reason is because they can dunk and everybody's competing for one goal, and that's to bring home that title. I'm going to go out and give it my all.

Q. [Inaudible]
DERRICK JONES, JR.: No, I just go out and do what I do. I know they're going to do what they do. It's going to be a fun night for everybody.

Q. What does it mean to you to be considered one of the favorites for this event even though no one's really seen you dunk in an NBA game yet?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I mean, it means a lot to me, but I don't let that get to my head. I know I've got to go out there and be humble and hungry as always. I'm just going to go do exactly what I've got to do.

Q. How surprised were you to get an invite?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I was very surprised. I spent most of my season down in D-League. I got the call from my GM [Ryan McDonough] telling me they invited me to it. I told him that I wasn't turning it down. I always wanted to be in the dunk contest, so why turn it down now?

Q. How much did you watch last year between those two guys?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I watched the whole dunk contest last year. They put on a great show. I was very excited about the whole dunk contest last year, and now to be able to be a part of it this year, I know it's going to be great.

Q. Do you look at it as I've got to try to top them or just go out and be yourself?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I just go out and do what I do. I'm just going to go out there and have fun. That's all. Just go out and have fun.

Q. What's your favorite dunk of all time?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: Vince Carter in 2000.

Q. What's so great about Vince Carter?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: He's just the greatest dunker of all time.

Q. What kind of dunks have you prepared?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: That's a secret. You're going to have to wait until Saturday night. But I'm pretty sure the whole world is going to love it.

Q. What's so special for you being here?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: Being an undrafted rookie and coming into All-Star weekend after playing in the D-League most of last season, it means a lot that they actually had me come out here.

Q. What do you think about that situation, being in the D-League and then coming to the All-Star game?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I'm very excited. I'm happy. I'm happy to be here. I'm always going to be happy to be a part of All-Star weekend. For me to be here my rookie year, it's just great.

Q. Are you okay with the way things unfolded for you in the last year? Have you kind of come to accept that, or does it still bother you?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: Yeah, I'm fine with everything that happened. I know that my life now is a lot better than what it was a year ago. Everything now is just going great for me.

Q. How is the D-League? How have you been adjusting to that?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: It's great. I love it. Being down there with my teammates, and every time I'm up with the Suns, I learn a lot. I'm not just a dunker, I'm a basketball player. So me being able to learn from guys like P.J. Tucker, Jared Dudley, Tyson Chandler, even Devin Booker, Eric Bledsoe, B. Knight [Brandon Knight], everybody on the team, I take in as much as I can.

And when I go back down to the D-League, I put everything together with my game.

Q. Would you rather be having a year in college right now?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: No, I'm fine with how I am right now. That year, it would have did me justice, but I'm not dwelling on the past. It's life that happens. I'm not really worried about it anymore.

Q. Do you like the setup with the D-League? Are there things they could do better or things to change with the D-League to make it better for players? More money perhaps?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: I mean, I really don't have a problem with how my life is right now. I mean, everything's great for me. And my teammates down there, when I'm down there, I make sure that they're good because I know that D-League life is hard. I try my best to make sure everybody's good.

Q. Can you describe what it's like living this dream?
DERRICK JONES, JR.: To me living this dream is so surreal. When they called me and told me I'd be in the NBA dunk contest (no microphone).

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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