The Terrence Jones Question

Posted by jstevrtc on May 2nd, 2010

First off, let’s get this out of the way — as of this writing (a few minutes after midnight on Sunday), there is no new development.  As Chevy Chase used to say: “This breaking news just in — Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead.”

By now, you’ve heard the story.  Terrence Jones, ranked ninth on the most recent ESPN-U 100 list of high school senior hoopsters, had his press conference at his high school on Friday to announce where he’d be attending college.  He had a table with six hats on display — Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, and Kentucky.  After some emotional thank-yous, he proclaimed that he still hadn’t come to a decision, and that he was literally choosing a college at that very moment.  He pump-faked toward the Kansas hat, then chose the lid from Washington.   As you’d expect from a crowd at what sounded like a pro-Washington Huskies high school, the choice led to much rejoicing, and a hug from Jones’ high school (and presumptive college) teammate, Terrence Ross, ranked 30th on the same ESPN-U 100 list.  Jones did not sign a letter of intent at the event.

Later on Friday, the Seattle Times reported that Jones was wavering on his decision.  Jones evidently called Kentucky coach John Calipari and there was a 15-minute conversation, though nobody knows what was said.  By Friday night, nobody — including Terrence Jones — was sure where anybody stood.  The Times‘ Percy Allen, who has been absolutely all over this story, wrote yesterday that he expected more developments on Saturday.  No news came.

No matter where he winds up, if it's right for him, none of this other nonsense matters.

If you thought that Jones added that “I still haven’t made a decision” bit for show, you’re wrong.  Jones was telling the truth, there.  If a recruit is confident in his decision, unless it’s to say something along the lines of, “Thanks for your efforts, but I’ve decided to go elsewhere,” you don’t call another program’s coach mere minutes after you’ve committed to another school.  This was a kid who, despite the arrival of the deadline he set and the announcement party being in full swing, still didn’t and doesn’t know where he wants to spend his college days, whether it’s for one year or five.

The question that logically follows is obvious: why didn’t he just call off the press conference?  Maybe he thought the answer would come to him in the final 24 hours.  Maybe he thought the impromptu method would reveal, even to him, where his heart was truly leading him.  Nobody knows the answer except Terrence Jones.

Before we all go bashing the guy, though, ask yourself what you would have done.  Make sure you throw it all in there in your deliberations: tens of thousands of people watching via websites live-streaming or live-blogging your decision; a gym full of friends, all UW fans; your parents waiting with you; you’re standing there in your tuxedo on a deadline day that you’ve established and you still haven’t made a decision. Terrence knew he couldn’t take a seat at that table, pick up the mic and say, “Sorry, folks.  I still don’t know.  Go home.”  Well, maybe he could have, but nobody said this was handled perfectly.  Jones is 18 years old, was still unsure about the biggest decision of his life, didn’t want to let anybody down, and heck, even had the SAT facing him on Saturday morning.  He can’t be expected to handle that particular pickle with perfect aplomb.  A safe play is to pick up the hometown cap, then get hold of any other programs still in the running to let them know that it’s not over.  Again, we can’t read Terrence’s mind.  That’s simply how this all appears from here.

But this will end well, because when the decision comes, this young man will be sure of his college choice.  Whether it’s Washington, Kentucky, Kansas, or even Gardner-Webb or Hofstra, by not signing his LOI, Jones has still left himself free to attend whatever school he wants.  The unsigned LOI should not be taken as a snub to UW, but rather as a kid just playing it safe.  His buyer’s remorse illustrates exactly why these kids should keep their options open by never signing this document even after giving a verbal commitment, but that’s a discussion for another time.  What’s important here is that Terrence technically has until May 19th — the end of the signing period — to make his college decision, and that he takes whatever time he needs to make a decision of which he’s certain, even if he still ends up as a Husky.  It’s better that he makes a good decision after further soul-searching than stick with a hurried decision of which he’s unsure, a decision he made just because he was sitting at a table with hats on it and had to pick one.

The best insight into Jones’ mind in all of this comes in what he told the Seattle Times‘ Percy Allen (we told you, he’s all over this) on Friday:  “You hurt thousands of people as much as you make people happy.”  He knows whatever he decides is going to make some people happy but is also going to upset an even greater number, including several coaches who recruited him, and he can’t stand the thought of that.  There’s nothing wrong with feeling trepidation about a decision that big — but it is indeed part of growing up.  Terrence Jones is going to do a lot of that in the next few days.  He’s definitely going to find out who his real friends are.  Because this is a decision he has to make while considering what’s best for him — not for his friends, coaches, recruiters, or even his parents.  Could he have dealt with all of this a little better?  Sure, but we don’t know many 18-year olds who have a perfect decision-making track record, so let’s all keep one thing in focus.  It’s not important that Terrence Jones gets his college decision right in a roomful of classmates, reporters, and bloggers.  It’s simply important that he gets his college decision right.

jstevrtc (547 Posts)

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40 responses to “The Terrence Jones Question”

  1. Luke says:

    Portland is in Oregon, not Washington. Calipari is a slimebag.

  2. jstevrtc says:

    Just so we’ll know, what’s the Portland reference?

  3. Brian says:

    He mentioned Portland because that is where the high school is located. In the second paragraph towards the end the article it says “As you’d expect from a crowd at a Washington high school, the choice led to much rejoicing…” It’s an error because the school is located in the state of Oregon, not Washington.. come on!

  4. Brian says:

    He’s saying that Jefferson High, the Terrences’ school, is in Portland, Oregon, so it’s not a “Washington school” as it is erroneously labeled in the post.

  5. Ryan says:

    “As you’d expect from a crowd at a Washington high school” I believe this is what Luke was correcting in his comment. Jones is from Portland, thus, an Oregon high school.

  6. Don says:

    If Terrence Jones signs with Washington, all the best. I chose to stay close to home for college despite offers from bigger places. But I wasn’t a future NBA lottery pick. If Terrence Jones is considering the NBA in the future, there is no other place but UK, coach Cal, and a permanent place in our family. Look at Wall and Cousins; how many players are 1 and done and still loved by the fans and given warm wishes for their 1 season here? To be a Wildcat is magical, and you are basically given a golden key to our state forever.

  7. Andrew M says:

    “As you’d expect from a crowd at a Washington high school,”

    The high school is in Portland, no?

  8. Chris says:

    Luke, Cal’s not as slimey as your wife.

  9. matt says:

    Kentucky fans, get over your sense of entitlement. The reason Calipari is sending players to the NBA after one season is because he’s getting 5-star players. He’s not sending Brandon Roy to the pros as a lottery pick. He’s simply sending straight-to-the-NBA type talents to the pros. I’m sure any top school in the BCS can do that.

  10. Brent says:

    Jones CALLED Caliparri that clears up a lot cause the Wash. fanbase is saying it diferently and their wrong. Jones CALLED Cal himself. That says it all right there he wants to be a CAT! KY is a beautiful place and facts are facts UK is the best place for his skills. Wash. is not the program UK is nor will they ever be.

  11. jstevrtc says:

    OOOH, I get it now! We have finally achieved comprehension! When I wrote this, I messed up because I wrote “Washington high school” and should have written ” a PRO-Washington high school.” I remember wondering why kids at a school in Oregon would be so happy that two star players of theirs signed at what should be a rival college. Because when he announced, all of the people in that gym were ecstatic, it seemed. I’m not in the Pacific Northwest, so I’m a lot less attuned to the hoops culture there, and not at all at the high school level. Were his classmates happy just because he was going where Terrence Ross was going? Were they happy because he’d be closer to home than the other schools/hats on the table? I’d expect there to be a lot of upset folks in the crowd when an Oregon kid (actually two Oregon kids) commits to a rival college. It didn’t sound/look like it to me. Has the Oregon/Washington rivalry diminished, or are kids at Jefferson High (I still can’t believe I said that HS was in Washington) just being supportive their guys because they committed there?

    Thanks for pointing out that flub of mine. If you don’t mind, I’m going to go into the article and fix it. As you know if you’ve read other things I’ve written here, sometimes I get confused by things like shapes and colors, so I’m just happy to be here…

    John Stevens

  12. lilharpman says:

    This is a real tough time for a youngster. He really has 2 good options. I would think he could punch his NBA ticket at either school. One might be better than the other but both programs will accomplish the goal. Whenever he jumps to the NBA, he’s most likely a long way from home anyway. I don’t know how far the UW campus is from Portland, but it is closer than Lexington. Does the distance ofr one year (maybe two) really matter.
    Good Luck Terrence, you will prosper no matter what but I do like the looks of you in Ky Blue.

  13. John says:

    as a husky fan and living in wa, i would love to see terrence jones as a husky next year. but as a bigger fan of the game i think he should do what is best for him. if it means going to kentucky to get his game to that next level then all the best for him. dont get me wrong, jones will make washington ten times better but he would also make kentucky that much better. i dont know if its so much the rivalry between the schools as it is that washington is closer to home, maybe just supporting the pac-10 considering how much it sucked last year other than wa, or/and just dodnt want to upset anyone. all in all whereever he goes i think he’ll have a great freshman year whether its going to be as a husky or a wildcat.

  14. jstevrtc says:

    John2004IM and Lilharpman:

    I think you’re right, he’ll have a good shot at the NBA wherever he ends up, if his HS ranking is any indication. But I’m glad you mention that this kid should do what’s best for HIM, and I hope he takes whatever time he needs to figure out what that is.

    John Stevens

  15. uk fan says:

    i would think that terrance jones is a huskie.he hasn’t signed a loi big deal.brandon knight didn’t sign one either.It smart to not do that because if you have second thoughts you can always leave without i say congrats to the huskies on a terrific class.i think it’s time for this circus to end and both fans bases bury the bad’s not about two schools only about tj.I think tj is a good young guy and hope he does well.I just glad i have a coach i love and not billy clyde.he was

  16. Gabe says:

    yea, Cal is getting 5-star players. And his kids have been back to back rookie of the year winners in the NBA, competing against other former 5-star recruits and 4 year college players to win the honor. He is about to send his 2nd 1st overall pick in three years to the NBA. He is also sending Eric Bledsoe to the NBA as a first rounder when he was expected to be a 2 yr player at least, and probably a 3 yr. player. Daniel Orton wasn’t even recruited by Cal and he is about to be a first round pick. Cal is the best recruiter in College. Go ahead with your “underhanded cheating slimeball” retorts, but I can assure you, you have ZERO to back up those claims. But part of the reason that he is such a great recruiter is because he develops talent. Cal get’s 5-star recruits, but his recruits go pro. There are plenty of 5-star recruits that are supposed to be one and done, but end up coming back. How many have played for Cal?

  17. keoni says:

    well put uk fan. go uw!!! go uk as well.. john wall was/and is a beast

  18. Lou says:

    I don’t read every word on recruits, but I did try to watch the press conference on my computer. I thought the ceremony at Jefferson was for 4 Jefferson basketball players to announce (or not). If I am correct, then why was Ross there? What adult made the decision to have Ross at Jefferson to sign his LOI. I believe Jones had no idea what college he was going to pick until he stopped talking and had not choice except to grab a hat. With Ross sitting there I would have to say the young man got punked!

  19. Linda Taylor says:

    Good article. I really feel for this kid. I am married to a guy who has a hard time making decisions and believe me people like that really struggle with it. I hope everyone backs off this kid and lets him decide what’s best for him because that is the only thing that really matters here. He needs to decide what is best for him and only him and go with it. For my part I would love to see him in KY blue. I saw him play in some of the all-star games and was very impressed. He would be well loved by the KY faithful and that is a very special thing. I am not from KY but have lived here in Lex since 78. I’m a University of Arizona alumn and believe me there is nothing like KY basketball! It is more special than you can imagine. Unless you live here and experience it for yourself you can’t even begin to imagine how special it is. I hope TJ gets to share the experience too, but if his decision is elsewhere, then God bless him and I wish him great success wherever he goes. Also, I hope UW has a very successful season next year except of course if they play any “Wildcats”.

  20. Mike says:

    Just to let it be known up front, I am a huge UK fan. I am also a big fan of college basketball in general. I watched the live broadcast on the net, and was disappointed when he picked Washington. I can understand not wanting to leave home for college. However Mr. Jones is still welcome here, and the Big Blue Nation would love to have him, but we only want him if he wants to be here. He will be fine no matter where he goes. Good Luck Mr. Jones on your choice.

    P.S. I loved the run Washington made in the tourney… I’ll take the Pac-10 over the big east anytime… As everyone knows ESPN loves the Big East..

  21. uk fan says:

    i just wish uk could finally figure out how to break a zone defense down.wv defense was awesome to bad that they couldn’t shoot agiant I mean how is it that wv got hot on uk then went icy on duke. i hope lamb is a good as advisted about shooting.i just figured i talk about something other than jones lol

  22. uwguy says:

    I’m not so sure TJ was the one that called Cal. Those facts are still very much in dispute as I have heard credible reports saying that Coach Cal called TJ’s coaches and family members repeatedly asking to be hand the phone to TJ.. It is more logical to me when media, family and friends are surrounding TJ to make a phone call to Coach Cal after the celebration and hoopla is over. Knowing Coach Cal and the type of recruiter he is… I tend to believe the reports that Cal indirectly was the one to call TJ.

  23. better uk fan then uk fan says:

    he is definetly going to uk

  24. Dustin Cordell says:

    uwguy: I am glad to know that you know absolutely everything and just know for sure that Cal called him when in a interview with Jones he said himself that he called Cal. Now you may continue with the hate, but if you think Cal has to cheat to get recruits you know nothing about basketball because its the freedom he gives the kid that makes them want to play for UK. As for TJ best of luck whereever he goes and he will be in the NBA no matter where that ends up being, but he would only help his stock and his game at UK and should remember that his chances of staying close to home in just a year or two once he goes pro are slim at best.

  25. Big says:

    Washington fans and other haters want it to be Cal that called so they can have a reason to hate Cal. The haters are also still trying to say Cal told Jones that quote that he was hurting people. its hilarious that people will do whatever makes them happy although its completely wrong.

  26. Kevin says:

    Jones is a lottery calliber player…..we all know this! It doesn’t matter what school he goes to…..He’s still a lottery pick! The program doesn’t make him a lottery pick! The dude is blessed with great talent! you can’t coach that!
    And he did call al, but with great class and character he called him to tell Cal of his decision to go to UW! Coach Cal has a dirty past…….I can see why he has a shady reputation! I hope Jones comes to UW, but whatever choice he goes with more power to him!!

  27. UKFANINFL says:

    Kevin im sure glad your best friends with TJ and you were standing right there and heard TJ tell Cal he was picking UW over UK thanks for that great info man. If TJ did indeed tell Cal he was picking UK why would it take him over 15 mins to do so? Also if UW is for sure the school hes going to why not so the LOI when his boy Ross did?

    I’ll tell you why TJ wabts to play for a good coach one who will make him better and not one whos been close to losing his job. He wants to play with great players not just ok players like UW has on there team. He wants to play in the SEC with very good teams not the weak Pac-10 with crapy teams. Why do you think Kanter left your school and came to UK

  28. Duane says:

    Everyone, It doesnt matter what school you attend for NBA purposes. Look at Stephen Curry and many other players that didn’t go to big schools. When a kid makes his decision that should be it, none of this laying guilt nonsense. When you lose a recruiting battle, let it go. Its Calipari’s own fault that he recruits these 1 and done players. This causes a dire need to get the top 10 incoming freshmen every year. Thats unrealistic. And it hasnt done anything for him or the schools in which he has coached. Still no NCAA title. He purposely pushes these kids out so he can get the next best thing. If Wall didn’t go he wouldn’t have gotten Brandon Knight. If you know anything about Basketball you know that Knight is a better shooter than Wall. He forced Cousins out so he could get Enes Kanter from Europe. He announced that Paterson was going pro before Paterson himself announced it so that he would have a shot at C.J Leslie and Terrence Jones. He suggested that Bledsoe leave so he would have a shot at Josh Selby and Doron Lamb and was only successful with Lamb. This is a bad system and a bad idea and he is failing badly this year. The move that he pulled with Terrence Jones on the phone is a sign of how desperate he is and how bad his system is. Calipari looks like a fool now for pushing all of that talent to the NBA and he has now lost out on 3 of the star recruits in this class (Jones, Selby & Leslie). If he is really a good coach he can win without all of the premier talent in country.

  29. Kevin says:

    Luke, you’re a retard! Calipari did NOTHING wrong! Jones called him and if you’re 1/2 way up to date on what transpired before the presser you would know that Kones told the UK staff that he was going to UK hence the quick phone call by Jones to Cal. So before you go off blaming someone for cheating bone up a little on the facts and the rules. What Cal did is not illegal. Cal is battling to the end for TJ as I’m sure Romar is too. Nothing illegal in that.

  30. KYJohn says:

    This is a very well written article. I truly feel for Terrence. He is obviously under a great deal of pressure and doesn’t want to let anyone down. Terrence forget about everone else and make the choice that you want, the one that best suites you and your future the one that gives you peace. This is a big moment for you and many across the country but after you decided what is best for you life will go on for both you and the rest of us. Your dreams and your ambition are all you need to be concerned with. You make yourself happy TJ, to heck with everyone else.

  31. Bill says:

    I’m a life long UK fan and my take is that Jones should take the time he needs and make the right decision for HIM. He’ll be successful at either UW or UK, just make the decision that will make you happy! Don’t worry about what others want – what do you want?! While I think all Wildcat fans would love to have you because you’re so talented, we will ultimately wish you the best regardless of your decision.

  32. Gary says:


  33. KYJoe says:

    It really upsets me people are sitting here fighting and arguing about where this kid needs to go. Then throw in the fact people are trying to drag peoples names through the mudd it is ridiculous. We are talking about a young man here and his life changing decision. Let the young man make his decision and stand by him regardless of what it is.

  34. Duane says:

    Calipari’s squad posts worst grades of UK teams
    GPA for men’s basketball drops to 7 1/2-year low; among lowest in SEC, point behind Louisville
    By Jerry Tipton.

    Follow the Link above to read the whole story.

  35. Greg says:

    Very well stated!! I love Kentucky and hope he chooses us but I do want whats best for him.

  36. Kevin says:

    @ UKFANINFL ……. Its just my opinion! There is Speculation that Cal called Jones! Who knows what was really said during that convo! All I know is Cal is a slime ball coach who is a business man first….then a coach! If Jones is smart he will pick UW and play for a coach who has integrity and can make him a better man and better prepare him for the NBA. Coach Cal left UMASS and MEMPHIS with sanctions and he will do it to you in KENTUCKy! Romar was just given a 10yr extension and never had his job been in question!! And what is so great about the SEC when it comes to basketball? Tell me I would like to know!! It can’t compete with the Pac 10 in basketball! So we had a down year but there is nothing threatening about the SEC when it comes to basketball!! We have 15 NCAA titles to your 9 so tell me how the Pac 10 is week! And Kanter wanted to sign with UW but he couldn”t pass his SAT test! Some school actually have academic standards unlike UK!! So there ya go!!

  37. taylorcat1 says:

    Do you think top ranked kids really care about grades,they only care about the NBA
    get a clue dude.

  38. Duane says:

    @ Taylor, really, What about Kyle Singler? In addition to the student athletes caring about GPA’s the University itself needs to care about them. They didn’t win a championship, and the two other schools that he coached at are destroyed. Sooner or later someone better care about the GPA’s because thats all they will have.

  39. Duane says:

    WOW, this kid really stuck it to the University of Washington. Not only did he verbally commit to them, but he dragged out the signing until the last day of the signing period and didn’t sign with them. Now washington doesn’t even have a chance to get another player. WOW. This kid really put the boots to UW. Didn’t Calipari also steal Enes Kanter for UW also. Kanter verbally committed to UW but Calipari didn’t care, he kept recruiting him. Kanter gave in to Calipari’s full court press much like Jones. I feel bad for you UW. I don’t think things were done properly at all.

  40. Duane says:

    Calipari gets talent, sure. By John Canzano, The Oregonian

    He successfully recruited Dajuan Wagner, the national player of the year, to Memphis. A couple of weeks later, Wagner’s father, Milt, was named coordinator of basketball operations. Calipari got a commitment from McDonald’s All-American game MVP Tyreke Evans, too. But only after hiring one of Evans amateur coaches as his own personal assistant. Derrick Rose came to Memphis, too. And the NCAA later learned that Rose’s brother, Reggie, received free travel to Tiger road games in the deal.

    Take a stroll around Calipari’s programs and you’ll find a pack of men with unknown motives hanging around. Agents, hangers-on, sycophants, and of course, the infamous and powerful talent broker — William “Worldwide Wes” Wesley — who steers players into Calipari’s arms.

    Look at Calipari’s coaching resume and you find academic fraud, including NCAA sanctions over a cooked-up entrance examination. Calipari had to throw out his NCAA Final Four appearance at the University of Massachusetts when it was learned that one of his players (Marcus Camby) took money from an agent. The same thing happened at Memphis after the NCAA investigated Rose’s recruitment and his SAT test.

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