Calipari says 2019 will be a breakout year for returning players
NBA players have responded and a referee was suspended following a fight involving former University of Kentucky basketball star Terrence Jones during a game in the Philippines Basketball Association.
Jones, a member of the 2012 national championship team at UK, currently plays for TNT Katropa following 234 games played in the NBA over seven years. He was one of two players involved in a dispute that turned physical during Katropa’s game with the Phoenix Pulse over the weekend.
The incident began when Jones was knocked to the floor by Phoenix’s Calvin Abueva. As Jones began getting up, he appeared to hit Abueva in the groin area.
After a timeout and on the ensuing possession, Jones was chasing after a defensive rebound when he was clotheslined and knocked to the floor again by Abueva. Jones shoved a referee out of the way after he stood up and charged toward Abueva but was separated from him by an opposing player.
Abueva was immediately ejected but celebrated around his team and even danced on top of the scorer’s table in the direction of Katropa’s bench.
It didn’t stop Jones from scoring 40 points in the game in Katropa’s 114-88 victory. Jones was later fined 70,000 Philippine Pesos, which is the equivalent to $1,352.
In a postgame interview, Jones said he didn’t strike Abueva, who he claims flopped.
“You can go back and watch the tape. I know I didn’t put my hands toward any man’s groin area,” he told reporters, according to Philippine news website Rappler Sports.
The league fined Abueva a total of 120,000 Philippine Pesos ($2,319) for the fight, making obscene gestures and for a verbal altercation with a fan in a previous game.
Jones was not called for a foul when he apparently hit Abueva in the groin. The referee who was in front of both players was suspended by the league for 10 days, according to Philippines sports website Spin.ph.
Several NBA players have spoken out on social media in favor of Jones. Isaiah Thomas, a guard for the Denver Nuggets, said, “I woulda beat his a**” in a comment about Abueva. Matt Barnes, a 14-year NBA veteran, said, “Someone close line me there’s NO F*** WAY they leaving the arena w/o a fight. I’m standing at the door of the bus waiting on that fade.”
Abueva is known for his on-court antics and Yahoo Sports said he has made a case “for the title of dirtiest player in the world.” He has previously headbutted a Chinese player in a 2017 FIBA Asia Cup game and was involved in a 2018 FIBA World Cup Qualifiers brawl. He has also been fined multiple times this year for flashing a middle finger during games, according to Yahoo Sports.
Despite a strong start to his NBA career for the Houston Rockets, Jones has struggled to find a roster spot in recent seasons. He has played just five games in the league over the past three years.
Jones averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his sophomore season at UK when he helped a Anthony Davis-led team to Kentucky’s eighth national championship.
Kentucky Coach John Calipari said during his Tuesday press conference that Jones is planning a return to UK to finish his degree under UK’s “lifetime scholarship” program.