It was surprising and uplifting that Terrence Jones decided to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season. Jones, at the beginning of the season, was projected by many to be a lottery pick after his amazing performance in the Maui Invitational.
After that a slightly different image appeared from the Kentucky big man. He became inconsistent and at times was brought off the bench by John Calipari. His numbers suffered as he tried to find himself on the basketball court.
Now, it was still possible that Jones could have been a lottery pick even if he had kept his name in the draft but the smart and obvious decision was to return and try to increase his draft stock while helping the Wildcats improve upon last season.
Jones and freshmen Anthony Davis will undoubtedly provide a spark in both rebounding and scoring in the paint this season. If anything having Davis as a running mate may make life much easier for Terrence Jones. Last year the focus was doubling down on Jones any time he received the ball in the paint. Teams will need to pick their poison this season with who to double down on.
Terrence Jones will most likely leave after this season. If he develops his jumpshot enough during the offseason, like many scouts suggested he needed to do, then he could find himself being a Top 5 pick in next year’s draft. Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist are going to make Terrence Jones’ life that much easier.
The other surprising story so far this offseason was the return of Doron Lamb. It was so much surprising as it was exciting. Lamb is a little bit undersized and doesn’t have the body frame to play in the NBA as of yet but he can shoot with the best of them.
Lamb led the Wildcats in scoring for many games this season and when they needed a big three he was the man Kentucky got the ball too. He led the SEC in three-point percentage and was one of the top sharp shooters in the country.
Doron Lamb is about the only piece to the puzzle the Wildcats were missing coming into the 2011-2012 season. They had the point guard to replace Brandon Knight. They had the power forward to replace Terrence Jones if he had left but they didn’t have the shooting guard.
None of the recruits for this upcoming season have a smooth three-point shot like Lamb. He gives the Wildcats a threat from the outside that every team needs and with a team full of slashers like Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist, Kyle Wiltjer and Doron Lamb will be needed from the outside.
Lamb unlike Terrence Jones could possibly be a three or four year player for the Wildcats. That is exciting to think about. He has the skills to play at the next level but his body size could keep scouts hesitant to take a leap on Lamb.
The return of these two 5-star players is what John Calipari and Big Blue Nation have been waiting for. One-and-Done players are going to happen but if you can find a way to get one or two of your top recruits to stay each season then you have the possibility to compete each and every year. So far John Calipari has competed for a National Title in each of his two seasons at Kentucky and I expect nothing to change going in to next season.