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Blue-White notes: The real Terrence Jones

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13_Blue-White_07_BM.JPGTerrence Jones was always an intriguing player.

At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds and the ability to play both the post and roam the perimeter, Jones could be perhaps one of the biggest keys to yet another youth-driven Kentucky men's basketball team. On a team thin with size, Jones provides versatility that few can match.

But until Tuesday night, no one knew just how dynamic Jones was. There were the highly touted recruiting rankings, head coach John Calipari's comparison to NBA star Lamar Odom and rumors from practice, but other than a brief appearance in Canada, Jones was a mystery because of an injury during the three-game exhibition trip in Windsor, Ontario.

Now we know that Jones, while not DeMarcus Cousins, is quite the player in his own right.

Jones scored 29 points in the Blue team's 101-74 win over the White team in front of 11,391 fans at this year's Blue-White Scrimmage. Freshman guard Brandon Knight led all scorers with 37 points, but it was Jones' versatility that proved to be the story.

"He's pretty good," Calipari said. "(He) did some good stuff. One of the things you've got to have is you've got to score the ball, and that kid right there can score the ball."

Can he ever? He can score with his back to the basket, he can shoot it from behind the arc, take it on the dribble and even throw down a pretty nasty dunk. It's only one (defensive-absent) scrimmage and the first baby step of a long journey this season, but on the first night of the NBA, Jones demonstrated a game fit for the pros.

"I feel I just played OK," Jones said. "I could have made a lot more shots closer to the rim that I missed. I could have had a lot more rebounds."

Jones was 13 of 26 from the floor and recorded eight rebounds, although just one came on the offensive end. He also took a few unwarranted 3-pointers that drew the ire of his head coach during the game.

"I stopped him a couple of times because he took a couple he didn't need to take," Calipari said. "If the ball is driven in the lane and it's thrown out to him, I'm fine with that. But if the ball is swung and he should be driving the ball and he's just jacking up a 3 because he's not in the mode to attack, you've got to come out.

"What he'll do for us is get to that rim. He is long. Now what he did not do today and what he must do for to us to be any good is he has to offensive rebound.  He had one offensive rebound in that game. We missed 40 shots, so one out of 40 shots you rebounded. Come on now."

Still, it's hard to be upset with 29 points in a player's first real scrimmage in Rupp Arena.
 
One-minute sequence midway through the second half said all one needs to know about Jones. After missing a pull-up 3-pointer, he made it up for it on the next play by running the floor with Doron Lamb for a dunk. On the next defensive possession, Jones stuffed Jon Hood on the perimeter, ran the floor and received a pass for an alley-oop dunk.

"He can rebound the basketball, he can push it, play as a 6-9 point guard, so he's a big help," said Knight, who also pointed out the mismatch Jones creates with his left hand. "There's really no way to defend him. If he has a guy that's the same size of him, he's going to blow right by him. If he has a guy that's smaller than him, he's going to put them in the post. He's a great athlete and he poses mismatches everywhere."

Jones also showed an ability to guard anyone on the floor, matching up with everybody from 6-11 center Eloy Vargas to speedy guard DeAndre Liggins.

"He can guard guards and he can guard bigs,"

What can't he do?

Marathon men: After announcing that former players Wayne Turner, Mark Krebs and Perry Stevenson would play in the Blue-White Scrimmage to provide depth, the NCAA informed UK on Tuesday that the players would not be able to participate because of NCAA rules.

The NCAA told the school that any participation by the former players in a public scrimmage would be considered a contest against outside competition, therefore affecting UK's two scheduled exhibition games against Pikeville and Dillard.

That put Calipari and his team in a particularly tough bind considering he hoped the former players would add some depth to the scrimmage. Without the former players and with Enes Kanter unable to play while his NCAA eligibility is being reviewed, Calipari was left with 10 players for two teams. In other words, Tuesday's scrimmage was five-on-five, no subs.

Calipari decided to go ahead with a typical game format, playing two 20-minute halves. For some of the players, who were noticeably winded in the second half, it was like a full-on conditioning session.

"These people wanted to see us go up and down," Calipari said, "and to be honest with you, we have a day off tomorrow. Then I thought, (this could be) 40 minutes of conditioning, and I told these guys, make this a conditioning day."

But as the game wore on and players got tired, Knight got better.

After scoring just nine points in the first half, Knight picked up where he left off during the Canada trip with a game-high 37 points. Knight shot 14 of 20 from the field, grabbed eight rebounds, dished four assists and committed just two turnovers.

"We still had to play hard, and that's what we tried to do 40 minutes," freshman guard Jarrod Polson said. "Practices are really intense. It's so much different than high school so were used to it, but it's still pretty hard."

Knight did start cramping up at the end and Lamb hit the floor hard earlier in the game. Asked what his backup plan was in the case one of his players got hurt, Calipari said he didn't know.

"I said, what happens if a guy gets hurt? What are we going to play, four and four? Play the zone?' " Calipari said. "No, we had no backup plan. That's why when Doron that hit the floor hard, I said, 'Get up, kid, you've got to finish this one out.' " 

Defining the team, roles: Jones might be the versatile guy to create mismatches, Darius Miller may be the leader and Knight might be the leading scorer, but Calipari still has a lot of questions about his team - and rightfully so with two weeks until the first real game.

"This may be a pick and roll team," Calipari said. "I haven't figured it out yet. It will take time, and it may take time as we go through the season.  We start defining. Look, I was at Memphis, we were 6 3 and I figured out maybe Tyreke Evans should be our point guard. And we won 27 straight.

"That's how dumb I was. We were 6-3 in nine games and dying, and I had the wrong guy at point guard. It took me some time but I figured it out. We have to figure it out."

Asked what he knows his team isn't, he said it's not an interior team like it was last year.

"I know we are not the beast of a team we were inside last year where we had three horses," Calipari said. "We don't have that. So now you play a little different.  ... I think when you look at us, you know we are going to be better against zone.  Because you know, now you put Terrence in the middle of a zone and you put shooters around him, we are a little different team than we were a year ago versus the zone."

In the process of evaluating this year's team, Calipari made sure to reassure that this isn't last year's group.

"We were not a great team early," Calipari said. "We became a great team. This team, we have got to figure them out. (It) doesn't happen overnight."

Harrellson a rebounding machine: Lost in the scoring barrage was Josh Harrellson's 26-rebound performance.

"I don't think he's ever done that in a rebounding drill, like by himself, with a zone," Calipari said.

Calipari doesn't know if it's a product of Harrellson's improvement or his team's inability to rebound. It's yet another question Calipari has to answer as the season starts up.

"If he can go in there and go grab rebounds and do it, either we are the worst offensive rebounding team in America or he's gotten better," Calipari said.

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