Tom's Take: along came Jones

January 19th 2012

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In the weeks following that dreadful day at Indiana, folks around the UK basketball program were trying to figure out what was wrong with Terrence Jones.  Even coach Cal talked about playing Jones more minutes because he needed to get him going.  Was it a school issue, a girlfriend, the injured finger, etc.?  After another solid outing in the Cats' win over Arkansas, Jones told reporters he was "thinking too much" and worried about his declining production.  It makes sense.  You're 18 or 19-years old and you're getting hit with criticism for the Indiana game or for showboating against Kansas and college basketball analysts on the tube are using you as examples of the season's biggest disappointments and your draft stock is falling--if it didn't bother him, it would be surprising.  There's no formula for how this happens but at some point, you just tune it out or use it as motivation and you start to look more like that player who scored 52 in the blue-white game. 
 
We talked about TJ a good bit on the radio show today.  Here's what Mike Pratt had to say:

            "Life's unfair and you gotta deal with the bumps in the road and if you're going to be a professional, you gotta deal with the bumps in the road.  Terrence is starting to respond now.  He's getting the rebounds now, using his strength."  (check out the full interview on the podcast)

And Brett Dawson of CatsIllustrated.com said Alabama "is a particularly good test for Terrence" because of their "really rugged, physical play."
 
At Auburn, TJ got his offense going after he made a couple of steals.  Against Arkansas, he was fierce in attacking the boards from the outset and the offense eventually came.  Now, things are starting to click.  And somewhere along the March Madness trail, Kentucky will get a big win primarily on the back of Jones and you'll start to hear about his draft stock rising again.  Randall Cobb used to tell us about how he welcomed critics and doubters because they motivated him.  Jones played against Arkansas like he was feeling the same way.

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