Notes: Ex-teammates comment on Jones and his fast start

UK freshman first committed to Washington; Two opponents are ex-teammates

jtipton@herald-leader.comNovember 23, 2010 

LAHAINA, Maui, Hawaii — When Kentucky plays Washington on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. EST), the game will be a reunion for freshman Terrence Jones. Two of his former high school teammates play for the Huskies.

"It's like seeing one of my brothers," Washington freshman Terrence Ross said last week of the teams' participation in the EA Sports Maui Invitational. "We're like family."

Ditto for Antoine Hosley, a walk-on for the Huskies. "That's my best friend," he said of Jones. "We talk all the time. We try to talk every day."

Hosley saw a Kentucky-Washington second-round game as "kind of crazy because me and Terrence always were on the same team."

Jones dismissed the notion of any awkwardness. The oddity came last spring when Jones first committed to Washington, then later switched to Kentucky.

"His recruiting was bizarre," Hosley said.

Jones fretted about the choice. Kentucky represented more playing time because Washington had a veteran team returning this season. But Ross and Hosley had been at his side on Jefferson High School teams that won Oregon state championship.

Ross, who originally committed to Maryland before signing with Washington, could understand a change of mind. But Hosley, who played with Jones since both were fifth-graders, might be hurt.

"I knew he really wanted me to go with him," Jones said. "He didn't want to say it because he wanted me to make my own decision. But I knew it was tough on him."

Hosley understood.

"At Kentucky, a lot of people are leaving to the NBA," Hosley said. "He thought he'd have a lot of freedom there to do what he needed to do to achieve his goals. And at Kentucky, we know, the lights are bright over there."

Hosley and Jones talk or text or post on each other's Facebook pages "almost every day," Hosley said.

Hosley was not surprised by Jones' fast start. A start Oklahoma Coach Jeff Capel described as "not just double-doubles, but huge double-doubles."

Saying he knew "where his head is at," Hosley saw Jones on the way to achieving his personal goals.

When asked if those goals revolved around getting to the NBA, Hosley said, "Yeah."

The obvious follow-up question: Was the one-and-done route to the NBA in Jones' head?

"Uh, I'm not sure if that's in his head," Hosley said. "He just wants to come out and play his game and show Kentucky and (John) Calipari why they recruited him. I don't think the NBA is in his head right now. Maybe after the season he'll think and make a decision."

Liggins shoulder

In the final minute, DeAndre Liggins fell on his right shoulder and stayed on the court for several minutes.

"It's pretty sore," Liggins said afterward. "I'll be all right for the next game."

Conference call

The Big Ten and ACC rate as the winningest conferences in the Maui Invitational.

Every Big Ten team has a .500 or better record in the event. The league's 50-27 record marks the most victories.

Led by North Carolina and Duke — who else? — the ACC has the best winning percentage at .693 (43-19).

Only two teams outside the six major conferences have won the Maui Invitational: Dayton in 2003 and Gonzaga last year.

Kentucky can increase its victory total in the Maui Invitational to 11 by winning the championship. Only North Carolina (13) and Duke (12) have won more games in this event.

UK's victory over Oklahoma improved the overall SEC record here to 31-24.

Etc.

Josh Harrellson and Eloy Vargas fell short of Calipari's goal of a combined double-double. Their stat lines added up to four points and seven rebounds. ... UK's 11-for-22 free throwing perplexed Calipari. "There's no reason for us to be a 50-percent free-throw team," he said. "I seem to do this to teams. I don't know what the heck I do."

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