Terrence Jones Responds to His Incentives and John Calipari Gets Angry

Posted on January 19, 2011 by

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John Calipari – head coach of Kentucky – has made a living off of recruiting one-and-done players (think Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans, John Wall, and DeMarcus Cousins).  The latest in this group is Terrence Jones.  Draft Express currently has Jones as the #7 pick in their 2011 mock draft (a pick they project will be held by the Detroit Pistons). 

Here is how Jonathan Givony – of Draft Express – described Jones last December for Sports Illustrated:

Rated the 10th best player in the 2010 high school class according to the RSCI, not many people expected Jones to be averaging close to 20 points and 10 rebounds per game seven games into the season. He’s elevated his draft stock considerably to the point that some notable evaluators now consider him a potential top-five pick.

Jones is one of the most physically gifted prospects in the nation, standing 6-8 with a chiseled frame and an outstanding blend of mobility and explosiveness. Spending most of his time at power forward in John Calipari’s dribble-drive motion offense, he’s a mismatch capable of creating his own shot from the perimeter and showing range out to the three-point line. Jones likes to mix it up inside the paint as well, showing the ability to score with his back to the basket and establishing himself as an absolute force on the boards.

With his length and athleticism, he projects as the type of player who can see time at either forward position in the NBA, which makes him attractive to teams that like to get out in the open floor. He’ll need to continue to improve his fundamentals on defense and show that his hot early shooting from outside wasn’t a fluke, but it looks like Jones is here to stay when discussing the best prospects in this class

And here is how Calipari describe Jones on Tuesday night:

During a timeout with 2:03 remaining after Kentucky squandered a late chance to tie the game, Calipari unleashed a string of curse words at Jones as he came off the floor, culminating by calling him “a selfish mother[expletive].”

The story reporting this outburst also noted….

The one-sided shouting match between Calipari and Jones was the culmination of weeks of frustration with the freshman forward’s tendency to take contested shots rather than look to set up his teammates for easier ones. Calipari removed Jones from the starting lineup against Auburn earlier this month and criticized him in the media this week, telling reporters “he’s not passing enough” and “he’s shooting every time” he touches the ball.  

Readers of the Stumbling on Wins can understand Calipari’s frustration.  Consider the following…

  • Teams win when players shoot efficiently (rebounding helps also).  And that means players have to be willing to pass the ball. 
  • However, players like Jones understand that their future draft position – and the size of their future paycheck – is primarily influenced by their scoring totals.  And that means that no matter how much Calipari screams, Jones is probably better off in the long-run by taking more shots.  

Yes, winning in the NCAA tournament is important as well (as discussed in Stumbling on Wins).  But let’s face it. Jones is not in complete control of Kentucky’s Final Four chances.  What he can control is the number of shots he takes.   And this is why – even if Calipari keeps screaming — Jones will probably keep shooting. 

– DJ

P.S. And yes, Calipari could bench Jones.  But if he treats Jones badly, will future one-and-done players want to play for Calipari?  In other words, in the long-run it might be good for Calipari to let Jones shoot as well.