Terrence Jones, a top-20 national prospect and a seemingly ideal player to replace the departed Patrick Patterson at Kentucky, committed to Washington on Friday. He picked the Huskies over Kentucky, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA and Kansas.
Jones made the announcement at his school, Jefferson High School, in Portland, Ore. More than 25,000 watched a live video stream of the announcement.
"I wanted to be close to home," Jones said.
Jones also noted that one of his high school teammates, Terrence Ross, had earlier committed to Washington.
"Like I said since the eighth grade, I wanted to play with Terrence Ross," Jones said.
Having lost star freshmen John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins as well as Patterson to this year's NBA Draft, Kentucky had already received commitments from big man Enes Kanter and highly regarded point guard Brandon Knight. The Cats also got commitments from wings Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole Jr.
Several analysts put Jones' announcement in the context of UK Coach John Calipari's eye-opening streak of recruiting good fortune having to end sometime.
"Not everything is going to go according to plan every year," Dave Telep of Scout.com said. "There are other people recruiting guys."
Clark Francis of the Hoop Scoop echoed that sentiment in assessing the loss of two forward prospects: C.J. Leslie to North Carolina State and then Jones.
"You've gotten everybody you were supposed to get," Francis said of Kentucky's recruiting haul since Calipari became coach. "The law of averages catches up to you at some point. Every beautiful girl you want to go out with isn't going to go out with you.
"The more important question is what's Plan B."
Kentucky has no realistic hope of adding a player similar to Jones this recruiting year, the analysts said.
But even without Jones, Kentucky would be a capable team next season, said Brick Oettinger, a recruiting analyst for Prep Stars.
"It's not like it would be a team lacking in talent," he said. "You don't have the obvious replacement for (Patrick) Patterson. I wouldn't call it a hole in the lineup. But certainly the lineup would not be as strong as it could have been."
One forward prospect still available is Marcus Thornton, an Atlanta native who originally committed to Clemson and then re-opened the recruiting process when Coach Oliver Purnell left for DePaul.
The recruiting analysts saw Thornton as a capable player, but also a step down from either Jones or Leslie. Oettinger said Thornton was a power player who had not displayed the perimeter versatility of Jones or Leslie.
"A rotation guy," Telep said. "A four-year kid. A good athlete. But Marcus Thornton isn't Terrence Jones."
■ Seattle Times reporter Percy Allen wrote on his blog that Jones might be wavering and that an hour after his announcement, he had yet to sign his letter of intent.