Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Back in April, Terrence Jones reached out to a table holding six baseball hats and picked up a black Washington Huskies cap as the assembled crowd at Portland (Ore.) Jefferson High let out a roar.
Three weeks later, he officially changed course and announced he would go to Kentucky instead.
Now, Jones and his new team may meet the team he briefly committed to in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational Tuesday night.
The 6-foot-8 Jones put on a show in posting 29 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals in a 76-64 victory over Oklahoma.
If Washington beats Virginia in a quarterfinal later Monday, the No. 8 Wildcats and No. 13 Huskies will face off.
“When I recruited him, I loved him,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel told reporters. “I didn’t love him this afternoon. I didn’t care where anyone else was ranked, there is no one in this class that can do what he can do.”
During one impressive second-half stint, Jones pulled down a defensive rebound, initiated the break and then fed a nifty no-look underhand pass to a cutting Josh Harrellson for a layup.
“I said he was the best player,” Kentucky coach John Calipari told reporters, referring to all the freshmen in America. “I love coaching him.”
One NBA scout in attendance told Chad Ford of ESPN.com that Jones could potentially be the No. 1 pick in the 2011 Draft.
“If he continues to play this way, he’s going very, very high in the draft,” a NBA scout who attended the game told ESPN.com. “He could even be the No. 1 pick in the draft. He’s does all the things Harrison Barnes does and he’s bigger and so far, he’s been better.”
Considering that Barnes, Jared Sullinger, Kyrie Irving and Enes Kanter could also be eligible, those are strong words.
Jones’ fellow frosh Brandon Knight (13 points, five turnovers) and Doron Lamb (12 points) are pretty good, too, but on this night Jones stole the show.
Now we may get to see how he does against a real quality team like the Huskies.
“I’m not worried; I’m ready to play anybody,” Jones told ESPN.com. “I know a lot of guys on that team. I have a good relationship with Coach [Lorenzo] Romar. I’m just trying to get better.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.