TERRENCE JONES: Lofty Expectations, Pt 2

"I feel I can almost go to anyone on the team or any of the coaches and they will be confidential and will be honest with me," Jones said.

His weaknesses were listed as having unorthodox mechanics on his jump shot and lacking a "consistent mean streak on the interior" against physical opponents. It also questioned his foot speed and vertical leap. "Mental lapses, bad body language, dips in concentration and loss of confidence are not foreign territory for Jones. Plays with passion, but needs to remain on an even emotional plain throughout the game," the analysis said.

Jones heard all that and more from NBA personnel during his workouts last spring before he took his name out of the draft. However, he says the experience did help him.

"Just the beginning of the summer preparing for any NBA workouts if I wanted to make that decision got me in great shape. I worked really hard at the combines to see I was going to go to the next level. Then once I decided to come back, I did more weight and more workouts and much harder workouts to prepare myself for this year,"?he said. "I would say the NBA evaluations helped by making me go as hard as I could so I could try to stay in the best shape. That is what helped me more than anything."

What will convince Calipari that Jones has learned what it takes to go from being a talented Southeastern Conference player and mid-first round draft pick to All-American and top-five draft pick?

"Are you the first one in the gym? Are you loving it? Do you come in at night. Ten at night, I'm in my office, the lights come on, there's music, I look down, there's Terrence Jones in that gym. That means he becomes one of the top three players, if not the best player in the country," Calipari said.

"Do you want that? Some guys are afraid of that. Some guys don't want that because the expectation on me is so high. ‘I just want to play ball. Play a nice 2-3 ball, see the girls, go out to the clubs, play a little bit,' or do you want that?

"He's on that path right now. I'm loving it, because I'm seeing him physically grow. I'm seeing him mature as a person. I'm seeing him grow, the maturity. I'm really proud of what he's doing. Now he's going to have to go out on that court and perform, and perform with this group. That will be his challenge. But he's on a good path."

Jones insists he won't get off that path, either.

"I plan to be more focused on the court and off the court to prepare myself. I think it will be a lot easier a second time around. I'm older and wiser. I know what to expect rather than being a freshman just excited about college," he said. "The second time around should be easier for me."

"It would be very frustrating if something happened and I was not a lottery pick, but there would be no one to blame but me." Jones expects his leadership role to change on this team with the departure of veterans Josh Harrellson and DeAndre Liggins to the?NBA, along with point guard Brandon Knight, who left after his freshman season.

"I feel in basketball every player on the floor is a leader and talks just as much as one another and helps out another player at one point or so in the game," Jones said. "I just want to be that player that guys can talk to off the court if they need advice about anything.?I will be there for them. All my teammates know I?am honest and want the best for everyone."

Who is there for him at UK?if he needs someone to talk to?

"It depends on the situation. I feel I can almost go to anyone on the team or any of the coaches and they will be confidential and will be honest with me," Jones said. "That is the way I?feel and why I like this team. It has a family atmosphere, and you really can go to anyone or who you feel the most comfortable telling anything.

"I would also say that I?do understand coach Cal a lot better. We have known each other longer now and we just know what kind of people one another are. We get along great." His best confidant, though, is his mother, Linda Mashia-Jones.

AllWildcats Top Stories