Beyond the Lottery: Terrence Jones

University of Kentucky sophomore Terrence Jones started 34 of 38 games this past season for the supremely talented 2012 NCAA Champion Wildcats. Jones averaged 12.3 ppg. 7.2 rpg, 1.8 bpg and 1.3 spg in 30 minutes of court time for coach John Calipari. At 6’9” and 252 pounds, the 20-year-old Jones can play either forward position, and he possesses above average athleticism, especially for a player his size.

This lefty moves fluidly around the court and is a great finisher at the rim with his 7’2” wingspan. He runs the floor hard in the proper lanes and can handle the rock on the break and in transition. The pride of Portland, Oregon posted season-highs of 27 points, 11 boards (5X), 5 blocks and 4 steals.

Jones can hit the 20+ foot jumper and has demonstrated marked improvement in his outside ‘J’ since coming out of Jefferson High School, where he led his squad to an unprecedented three straight state championships. With his developing physique and strength, bolstered by countless hours in the weight room, Jones can battle for rebounds and has active feet and positioning on the offensive glass.

On the defensive end, Jones’ combination of hops, length and lateral quickness gives him the ability to guard the post and the wing spots. He blocks shots, shuts off passing lanes and can deny dribble penetration. Jones isn’t afraid of battling bigger players in the paint, which should serve him well in the current NBA which is loaded with top-flight PF’s.

Jones is projected to go between 16-21 in Round 1 of the 2012 NBA Draft. The main knock on Jones is that he is a tweener, not a true 3 or a true 4. A secondary criticism is that no one facet of his overall game can be described as truly exceptional yet.

However, Jones displayed maturity and leadership on a freshman-dominated team. He was moved from the SF to the PF in his second season by coach Cal and accepted his new role for the sake of his team’s success. By virtue of choosing the UK program, Jones participated in numerous important games and learned to play in unison with at least seven current or future NBA players. Look for Jones to keep improving and to begin his pro career as a do-most-everything, energy-boosting bench contributor.

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