Terrence Jones tweets his return to Kentucky

Freshman wants to win 8th Title

Herald-Leader Staff ReportMay 8, 2011 

Terrence Jones kept Big Blue Nation waiting Saturday.

Was he awake? Was he eating lunch? Would he make his much-anticipated announcement in the middle of the Kentucky Derby?

The University of Kentucky's rabid basketball fan base wanted answers.

Despite that need to know, UK's 6-foot-9 freshman forward took his time.

And, in the end, the player's I-won't-be-rushed approach was reflected not only in the timing of Jones' announcement but in the decision itself.

"I've been enjoying being college player & plan on striving to reach goal of winning #8 here at UK. I can't leave BBN yet," Jones posted on his Twitter account shortly after 4 p.m.

Jones waited until one day before the deadline to withdraw his name from consideration for the 2011 NBA Draft in announcing he would return to Kentucky for his sophomore season.

Jones' mother, Linda, said her son informed her of his decision in a phone call Friday night. She said her son was at the Derby on Saturday.

"I probably have called him every day for the last three or four weeks to discuss this. ... It wasn't a quick decision," she said. "A lot of time and thought went into it."

UK said Friday that Jones would release his decision on Saturday via Twitter, but no timetable was provided.

At about 3:15 p.m. Saturday those nervously refreshing @terrencejones1 received some relief when UK announced Jones would make his decision public at 4 p.m.

Jones has been projected as an NBA lottery pick by numerous draft analysts, but his patience in taking an extra season to develop might be rewarded, according to one of Jones' fellow Twitter travelers.

"Good move by Terrence Jones," tweeted ESPN draft analyst Chad Ford. "If he has a big year he's a top-5 pick."

Jones' announcement not only sparked excitement about the player's potential further development but about prospects for UK's team next season.

Announcer Dick Vitale declared North Carolina No. 1 and Kentucky No. 2. The Wildcats advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 2011 by beating the Tar Heels in the East Regional finals.

Jones will be part of a deep and talented Kentucky team that will include returning regulars Darius Miller, Doron Lamb and possibly DeAndre Liggins along with the nation's No. 1 recruiting class in Anthony Davis, Michael Gilchrist, Marquis Teague and Kyle Wiltjer.

North Carolina also boasts several talented returning players, most notably forward Harrison Barnes.

Jones' quest for Kentucky's eighth national championship brought a favorable response from Coach John Calipari, who has watched five of his players follow the one-and-done route to the NBA in his first two seasons at Kentucky.

"I'm very happy for Terrence and his family because he did the right thing for his future, but he had to come to that conclusion," Calipari said in a news release. "He told me he wanted to continue enjoying the college experience and I told him that was fine by me."

Jones' mother said a looming NBA lockout "had a lot to do with" her son's decision to return to UK but added that he likes school and wanted to continue with his education.

"I'm fine (with it)," Linda Jones said. "A mom always wants to see their child go to school, so that's a great thing."

Jones was one of three Kentucky underclassmen who entered the draft last month, joining freshman Brandon Knight and junior guard Liggins.

None of the three hired an agent, meaning they could retain their collegiate eligibility by withdrawing from the draft by Sunday's 11:59 p.m. deadline.

Knight, who is projected as a top-five pick, announced Friday that he would not return to Kentucky. Liggins has not yet announced his decision. He spent Saturday in Newark, N.J. working out in front of representatives from NBA teams.

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