Five-star combo forward Terrence Jones may have announced last week that he will attend Washington at a press conference at his high school, but, according to Rivals.com, Jones is still torn between Washington and Kentucky.
Well, as crazy as this may sound, Kansas fans should just feel lucky that they are out of the running.
Sure, Jones would have been a great get for KU coach Bill Self late in the signing period. He likely would have been in the mix for playing time right away even with the Jayhawks having plenty of talent at small forward (Travis Releford and Mario Little) and power forward (Marcus Morris and Thomas Robinson).
Sometimes, though, you can just have too much, and Jones’ presence would have just confused the situation. Releford and Little already sacrificed by redshirting last season, and after seeing KU flame out early in the second round of the tournament, you had to wonder if either of those players could have made a difference. They’ve earned their time to shine. Morris evolved into KU’s most consistent performer near the end of last season and needs to play 30 minutes a game in 2010-11.
Self will be better served to roll into next season with 12 scholarship players and save the available scholarship for the next recruiting year. If KU had signed Jones, the Jayhawks would unquestionably have had to redshirt a player or a couple of players.
Even without Jones, there are going to be some talented/proven players not receiving much playing time. At guard, Tyshawn Taylor, Josh Selby, Tyrel Reed, Brady Morningstar, Elijah Johnson, Releford, Little and freshman Royce Woolridge will battle for time (I would be surprised if Woolridge did not redshirt). Inside, there will be a clear rotation of Marcus and Markieff Morris, Robinson and center Jeff Withey. Little will also play some at the No. 4 spot.
Looking back at the 2008 national title team, there was a clear drop-off in talent after the seventh or eight spot. Rodrick Stewart and Jeremy Case knew they were not better than Brandon Rush or Mario Chalmers. That team was going to play seven guys most of the time, and those seven were clearly the right seven.
Last season, there was a gray area, and this coming season, it won’t be easy to differentiate either. The bottom line is, there was truly no room for Jones if Self wanted to keep a happy locker room.