Today is the day for Terrence Jones, and even though no timetable has been given, the Lexington Herald-Leader reports that Jones will announce his NBA decision today on Twitter. Jones is said to still be 50/50 on the decision.
It is my considered opinion that the choice of forum is instructive in divining what Jones has in mind. I am of the opinion that Jones has had his mind made up -- mostly, anyway -- since the "Calipari combine" of a few days ago. The feedback he got from the NBA was mixed, and I think that was enough to convince him that the feedback, along with the looming NBA labor problems and the fact that UK has plenty of minutes available at the 4 next year, argues for a return to Kentucky.
I know I am going out on a limb here. I have no pipeline to Jones or his thinking, but the tone of the commentary surrounding his workout for the pros and Calipari's earlier comments are puzzle pieces that, while they don't form a clear picture, do seem to fit better together in a "come back for another year" decision. While the call was really closer to a no-brainer for Brandon Knight, Jones has a lot to consider, as he could slip out of the draft lottery fairly easily, although there is no way conceivable to me he could slip to the second round.
All these things considered, plus the remarkable upside that Jones still possesses make a strong argument for a return to Lexington, although certainly not a bulletproof one. Jones at Kentucky another year would get a chance to develop the only thing that is keeping him from being a lock for a top ten draft pick, and that is a reliable perimeter shot. Like Patrick Patterson before him, a combo forward in the NBA absolutely needs that in today's pro game, and Jones is a lot closer to having it now than Patterson was even as recently as the beginning of his junior season.
The other thing Jones lacks is a right hand. He has none. Anyone who watches the NBA for even five minutes will see that there are no one-handed players in that league who are highly successful -- you absolutely, positively must use your off hand both off the bounce and to finish around the basket. Jones struggles with both, and I'm sure that was on display for all the NBA decision-makers in attendance at the Calipari combine.
The return of Jones to Kentucky would surely do even more than the return of Brandon Knight (if we had to pick one or the other), to improve Kentucky's chances to win the national championship next year. Kentucky will suddenly become remarkably deep both in the front and back courts, although Kyle Wiltjer could see his opportunities slip a little if Jones returns. The good news is, Wiltjer isn't considered to be the kind of player who would be NBA ready after only one year anyway, so that could give him the opportunity to develop a bit more naturally.
Stay tuned. We'll let you know about Jones' decision when it becomes available.