WATERLOO -- Earlier this week, Fred Jones must have felt a bit like Neil Armstrong when he walked on the moon.
In a matter of seconds, the new Raptors guard discovered that he had entered a whole new basketball world.
"(On Thursday), I think I got in the game right off the bench in the scrimmage and passed up a shot, which in Indiana, that's what you were supposed to do," the 6-foot-2 Jones said yesterday, referring to the team that employed him for the first four seasons of his NBA career.
"You were supposed to work the ball and wait, let yourself get in a rhythm, (but Raptors) coach (Sam Mitchell) was on me, 'Shoot the ball, shoot the ball.' I've got to get in that mind frame. It's just a difference."
Not that Jones is complaining. Far from it.
The high-flying one-time NBA slam dunk champion is thrilled to be out of Indiana, where off-court turmoil (it continued yesterday with the Stephen Jackson gun shooting incident) and a slow-paced offence took a toll on Jones.
It's a true fresh start for Jones with the Raptors. Jones, who missed the first two scrimmages at training camp with a jammed big right toe, has a chance to compete with Anthony Parker for a starting role and the team is planning to hustle up and down the floor in a quest to score easy baskets.
"For me, (Mitchell) ain't going to have to tell me too many times to shoot the ball," Jones, 27, said yesterday after the fourth day of training camp at RIM Park. "I've just got to get in the gym and get all my confidence where it needs to be. I'll be fine. I'm going to love this offence. I think it suits me perfect and I'm going to run with it."
Run is the key word. Jones felt he saw the red light more than the green in Indiana.
"Kind of uneventful," Jones said when asked to sum up his career. "I felt like I could do more but I wasn't really asked to do more. I felt like I was just stuck in cruise control and never able to explode and go the speed limit. So now, this is a new situation, they're expecting more out of me and I expect more than what they ask of me."
While the Jones-Parker competition is the only real battle for a starting job at camp, Jones does not see it as a winner-take-all duel. Parker, a strong spot-up shooter, brings a completely different skill set to the table.
"We're going to compete all year, regardless of who's playing or who's not playing," Jones said. "We're just going to make each other better ... We're really not worried about that. We'll just take it how the coaches give it to us and roll with it."