Kentucky-bound Jones treated initial decision poorly

Terrence Jones had many reasons to consider playing basketball at the University of Washington.

But apparently, one stood above the rest.

In a recent interview with The Oregonian, the future Kentucky Wildcat elaborated on his initial decision to play at UW: “A little bit of just not knowing, being close to home. You can’t go wrong being that close. It was a spur-of-the-moment thing, not really thinking about it. Picking something just because it was there.”

Last month, Jones held a press conference to commit to Washington not because he wanted to play with former-teammate Terrence Ross. Not because he wanted to play basketball in Seattle, a city that loves the sport and consistently produces NBA-level talent.

Nope, Jones considered UW “because it was there.”

Jones didn’t put on that hat with the big purple W because he wanted to play for a program on the rise. He didn’t want to play for a program that won the Pac-10 tournament this year and a Pac-10 title last year, defied expectations to advance to the Sweet 16 this year and might even be a top-10 team without him.

No, he put on that hat “because it was there.”

Jones didn’t state on May 5 that he was “still committed to Washington” because he wanted to play on a team that’s a clear-cut favorite to win the Pac-10 this season, nor did he want to play for Lorenzo Romar, a class-act and one of the most respected coaches in college hoops.

Not at all. Jones was committed “because it was there,” and that was that.

Of course, there were many reasons for Jones to pick Kentucky as well: The opportunity to play for one of the nation’s elite programs and one of the best fan bases in the country. The chance to play under John Calipari, a man who specializes in coaching one-and-done college stars.

Though he had every reason to choose to be a Wildcat, Jones’ words speak nearly as loud as his actions. And his words show that he didn’t take his decision nearly seriously enough. Jones recently said on Twitter: “Either way 1fan base was gonna hate me ....sooo how much wud u care.”

Based on the punctuation, this isn’t technically a question, but I’ve got answer for him anyway: A lot.

Terrence Jones should have cared a lot more about his decision, especially before holding a news conference to announce it to the world when he was clearly having his doubts. As a top-100 recruit, Jones clearly should have treated his choice as much more than a “spur-of-the-moment thing.” By putting off an announcement until he was completely sure, he would have avoided this messy situation altogether.

In other words, neither fan base would have been upset, and Jones would not have become, as he termed in another Tweet, “the most hated player n 2010.”

But if it seemed like this was all a game to Jones — and it certainly did — there’s good reason for it. Ultimately, where he goes to college doesn’t matter. It’s just a one-year pit stop before he’s happily making his NBA millions.

And now, we’ll never know what could have been. Even though we were “there,” on the table and here on campus, Jones will never be here.

Reach columnist Andrew Gospe at sports@dailyuw.com.

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