Terrence Jones Focusing on Versatility
As the match-up in the NBA Finals is now known, the players who are looking to begin their own NBA careers soon are keeping up with the championship race. Terrence Jones has been a fan of the league essentially since birth and, while enjoying the league’s postseason, he is ready to become a member of the league as well.
“I’m definitely rooting for Oklahoma City and Miami because they’re players we have relationships with,” said Jones. “They’re great teams.”
After all, Terrence Jones is a player who knows a thing or two about championships, having won one with the Kentucky Wildcats. The thought of leaving Kentucky to head to the NBA after his freshman year crossed Jones’ mind, but he opted to stay for the opportunity to win a national championship as well as improve his stock. He was told that he would more than likely end up as a top eight player in this year’s draft if he stayed in school and developed a bit more. Jones opted to return, became an even better player and won a championship without injury. This is the definition of a best-case scenario.
“It means a lot to just have a great team where everyone did it, sacrificed for a team … It would be a great way to continue our careers in the NBA.”
One of the main reasons his choice to stay in school helped his individual game was because of the John Calipari’s style of play at Kentucky, which very closely emulates an NBA offense. Jones had success in that framework and he feels ready to play a pick-and-roll game once he gets to the NBA.
“I think it prepared us real well with Coach Cal having a lot of experience in the NBA and that style, putting it into the college game for us was just a great way to have it carry over,” said Jones.
In trying to up his stock in the draft, Jones is looking to show more on the court than he was able to display at Kentucky. Of course, when he was a Wildcat, the sacrifice of individual statistics paid off in the form of a national championship and that also shows NBA teams that he is, in fact, a team player.
“I think so,” said Jones. “I think you get to show a lot more of your game than every player on my team that didn’t really shoot too many shots.”
The draft combine can be intense with all of the prospects playing with and against their peers who are vying for position in the same draft, yet you must show how you stand out from the pack. The interviews can be intense and monotonous at the same time, but you must always show your professionalism because you never know what will happen on draft night. You may believe you will go to a team, but on draft night any number of scenarios can play out. Each interview is important.
“Yesterday was the first day,” said Jones. “I had Denver, Sacramento, Orlando and Atlanta. I have a lot more today… They ask me all kinds of questions. Character questions, about the season, a lot of them. They ask me about my strengths and weaknesses, if I’ve known their system and their players, just how much I know about the program and a lot of questions about me.”
One team in particular was brought up to Jones during his media scrum. The Golden State Warriors play an up-tempo style of game that suits Jones’ game well in theory. While he may look like a fine addition to their squad on paper, he must continue to impress on the court and in the interviews and Jones openly welcomed the possibility.
“I go to them after,” said Jones. “Yeah, just knowing a couple players there would be a great experience.”
To truly fit into Golden State’s or most other team’s plans depending on where he goes in the draft, Jones knows he has a lot to show them. There is no doubt that he has NBA talent, but the biggest question surrounding him is whether he is a small forward or power forward in the NBA. He is well-aware of the questions of his position in the NBA and is embracing the opportunity to show he can play both positions.
“Just trying to show my versatility,” said Jones of the combine workouts. “Try to be a multiple position guy and how hard I work… I played different positions in high school and I played the 3 and 4 at Kentucky.”
With the work he is putting in now to show what he can do, as well as the craziness of draft night, Jones knows his upcoming rookie season in the NBA could go a variety of directions. He could go to a team where he plays a good amount of minutes or he could go somewhere where he sees very limited time.
“I don’t know because it depends on which team and what situation,” said Jones.
One thing is for sure though and that is the fact Jones will continue to put in the time and effort to earn more time wherever he ends up. Jones has shown himself to be a mature young man in the past with his decisions, and his work ethic puts him in great company, so fans can expect the same from him going forward. Whatever team decides to select Jones in the 2012 NBA draft will get a player who has the capability of playing two positions—although he probably is best-suited to play the power forward position in the NBA—and has a history of being a team-first kind of guy.
“I just want to be able to play as many positions as possible and help whatever team drafts me,” said Jones.
In HOOPSWORLD’s most recent mock draft, the Golden State Warriors select Jones with the number seven pick. If this is, in fact, how draft night plays out, it will be a great fit for both team and player. Learning the power forward position in the NBA behind David Lee and the pace of attack from Golden State would make Jones a fast favorite of head coach Mark Jackson.