That's how Indiana-native, 6-4 Eshaunte Jones looks at it. "It's been a long road, but I think it has all worked out for the best," Jones said of his trail to Lincoln, which went from committing to Indiana, to attending prep-school at Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Virginia to signing with Oregon State, only to be allowed a release from his obligation following a coaching change. "I learned a lot along the way."
Perhaps the lesson is patience? Maybe perseverance?
Jones said it was about all that and more.
"I grew up. I learned how to really appreciate what my team was doing and just what it's like to be part of a team even when I couldn't play," Jones remarked, noting that he missed half of Hargrave's undefeated season due to a severe ankle injury. "I really enjoyed rooting my teammates on and just being part of that experience."
The prep-experience isn't anything new for prominent basketball players, though, this scenery was vastly different than when Jones competed in regular AAU ball. The change of scenery was one thing Jones said that was probably key to his own maturation process. "It was tough going from being a city-kid to being in the middle of nowhere, and you go to school and play ball and that's about it," he said.
"But even in an atmosphere like that where there is a lot of trash talking (and) everyone going at it like crazy, you can come together as a team. I grew up a lot during that time. I am glad I was there."
Not a typical message, but as it's obvious and has already mentioned, this hasn't been a typical road for a young man who came out of the prep-ranks averaging close to 28 points a game while shooting almost 42 percent from beyond the arc.
Not hard to see why a young man would get national attention with numbers like that, which is what he did, that attention materializing in offers from some of the premiere programs in the country like Memphis, which competed in the national championship game this last season, along with Tennessee, Indiana, Georgetown, Missouri and Cincinnati.
To go from having a shot to play with many teams who simply reload every season, to a team just looking to build, you might think Jones wonders what might have been. He doesn't. He only thinks of what could be. "I'm at the best place for me, and I am really eager to see what I can do to help the team get better," Jones said. "If it means I have to play center, I'd do it. If it means I have to play forward, I'd do that.
"I'll do whatever they need me to do."
:"They", of course, is more like "he", that being third-year Husker head coach Doc Sadler. A man noted as much for his humor and charm as he is for his ferocious style of defense. He was a person Jones found it quite easy to talk to and get to know. "He's just a great, great guy. I got along really well with him and when I visited there, there was a lot of laughing and just getting to know everyone there," he said.
"The thing I learned about him was that he really, really pushes his players so they can be the absolute best they can be. That's the kind of coach I like to have."
To the defensive part, while Jones admits that up to this point of his career the physical-banging style of play really hasn't been, he's confident he's ready for the mental and especially physical elevation in play. "At the prep-level it's all bout finesse, a lot more emphasis put on scoring," he said. "But I like to press. I like to be physical. And I knew that no matter where I was going to go to college, it was going to be a big elevation in play."
When Jones thinks of what he can do for his team, which became his official team four days ago when he sent in his signed paperwork, according to Jones, Jones approaches it with a completely open mind. He knows what he can do, and he knows that's probably what's going to be asked of him. Even so, Jones said that his strengths in the past will only be a small part of what he plans to do in the future. "It's not about what you did, but what you can do to get better every single time you are on the floor. I'll do whatever I need to do," he said. "That's what it is to be part of a team – doing what you can to work with the rest of your teammates so that everyone gets better."
Where that ultimately leads Jones doesn't know and says he isn't concerned with right now. He's not even lamenting a bit about a city kid perhaps going to yet another place not surrounded by a whole lot. He likes his destination, where he said he hopes to arrive this month sometime.
He likes where this road, however curvy, has led him in the end.
"The players are great, and I felt very comfortable with everyone when I was there," he said. "And I know coach Sadler is going to be honest with me, always. No matter where I would have gone, I would have wanted to be part of something which I think I will be part of at Nebraska .
"I think it's the perfect place for me."