DeQuan Jones didn't have an outstanding collegiate career. At Miami, he averaged 4.6 points and 2.4 rebounds in four seasons, never averaging more than 17.3 minutes per game. Eight Hurricanes scored more points, on a per-game basis, than Jones did in Jones' senior season, after which he went undrafted. As Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes, Draft night was a "quiet" one for Jones, who watched from "his parents' house" and "didn't hear his name called."
That was on June 28th.
A little more than four months later, he was starting for the Orlando Magic.
Spears recounts what happened in the interim. Magic assistant GM Scott Perry, who scouted Jones when Perry was part of the Detroit Pistons' front office, thought to invite Jones to Orlando's summer-league squad. Jones did enough in his four appearances there--he posted six points and 5.6 rebounds--that the Magic invited him to training camp, where he beat out, in Christian Eyenga and Quentin Richardson, two veterans at his position who happened to have guaranteed contracts.
"DeQuan put himself in this position because he was in shape, – his effort, his athleticism – and he made great plays," general manager Rob Hennigan told Spears.
Jones' two NBA appearances haven't been brilliant--he's averaging just two points, one rebound, and one blocked shot in 14 minutes--but that fact simply speaks to what Hennigan told Jones after informing him he made the team: "We told him it doesn't get easier from here, it gets harder."