Former Kentucky All-American Kenny Walker watched five-star recruit Terrence Jones play a lot last summer after he got to Kentucky.
"I didn't know about his willingness to go inside and bang. He's a good athlete who can handle the ball and lead the break. He can pass it, too. He's a streaky 3-point shooter, not a great 3-point shooter. He has tremendous skills," said Walker.
"But I would like to go him inside more. Rebound, block shots, help out, take up space in the paint. He has to use his big body more. Sometimes if he stays on the perimeter too much, it will minimize his game. To maximize what he can do, he needs to mix it up more."
That's what Jones did a much better job of here Friday night in UK's 122-54 exhibition game win over Dillard.
He had 23 points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots, four assists and three steals in easily his best performance at Kentucky. He was 10-for-13 from the field and only one score came on a follow goal as nine of his rebounds were on the defensive end.
"He had a passion about playing," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "There was no coolness. A high school kid when it doesn't go right, they try to be cool like, ‘I don't really care. You know, this isn't really me.' But you can't be that way. He even started the game a little bit that way.
"But what you saw was when he got near that goal. The thing that he does that not many in the country do at his size — his second, third and fourth jump. So go in there and do it. Just go in there and go rebound every offensive rebound. Go after it once, twice, three times. Don't accept being blocked out. Then run that court.
"You saw him run and say is he that fast? Well, if he's that fast, run that fast, and these guys found him. Compared to the last game where he was crying in his soup, this was a good one for him."
Jones got in early foul trouble in UK's first exhibition game against Pikeville and was not a big factor. He sometimes got pushed around and was hesitant go inside. That changed, perhaps in part because of the physical practices UK had this week.
"I love him. I love that he's an inside-out guy," Dillard coach Dale Brown, a former UK guard, said. "He can put the ball on the floor. He's a pro. He's going to be playing at the next level. Really, love his game. I love the versatility in his game. He can step out and shoot the 3, too."
Walker says not to underestimate the adjustment Jones must make to playing inside against bigger, stronger opponents. He remembers coming to UK and being knocked around daily in practice by teammates Charles Hurt and Derrick Hord.
"I think that is what Jones is going to go through here for a few weeks. I am actually kind of glad that it is somewhat of a soft schedule so it can be somewhat of a slower progression for him to pick it up. I think the schedule is good for him and will benefit him. He's not soft. He just has to adjust and that just takes time even for someone as good as him," Walker said.
"This could have been a big first step for him. Now he has to come back and show he can do it again and again. That's another big step for a freshman to make, but he certainly has the talent to do it."
Jones impressed former Cats, and his coach
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