Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coach Cal speaks on Terrence Jones

John Calipari has stones. There's no arguing that.

He went on the radio in Portland, Oregon, to discuss the recruitment of Terrence Jones. You remember Jones, right? He's the 6'9" uber-recruit that committed to Washington back in late April, but almost immediately regretted his decision. After a three-week saga that left more than a few people sick of hearing about this young man, Jones finally signed a financial aid agreement with Kentucky just hours before the early signing period ended.

Safe to say, Coach Cal is not the most popular person in the Pacific Northwest these days.

Regardless, Cal went on the radio in Portland. Sports Radio Interviews was posted the transcript of this chat:

Well we thought that he was coming with us and when he said 'Washington' we were like 'what just happened?' That was the first thing. Then he called about an hour later and said 'Cal, I made a mistake. I don't know what I was doing. That is when the thing went like 'You what?' So we talked to him and said that we are going to do whatever you want. I am holding your scholarship. At one point I said, 'Look, if you want to go to Washington then go to Washington, and if you want to come with us, come with us. Just make a decision so that we can all move on.' But I felt bad for him to be honest with you. Because he is 6'9" everybody thinks that this guy is a grown man. They have emotions and they still, the peer pressure wanting to please everybody.
He also addressed the critics saying he shouldn't have recruited a player that was committed to another school:
I agree, but when the young man calls you and says that I made a mistake, 'Coach, I want to reconsider this' it changed everything. If he had committed to Washington and that was the end of it then we wouldn't have done anything. But this was a unique situation now. I have never been in anything like this where within an hour… I didn't see the press conference but I had people tell me that at the time they looked at it and said, 'Wow' and then after he went with his parents. But I didn't see it all. I mean I didn't watch it, but it was unique. I don't mind that Washington fans are upset and upset with me. That is part of what we do here but the reality is that I think, Lorenzo knows and their staff knows this was not our doing. I mean it was this young man and at the end of the day it is about him. It is about him reaching his dreams. It is about him making a decision that was best for him not for fans and teammates. It is about what is best for Terrence Jones and being selfish in that. I think at the end of the day that is what he tried to do.
Calipari is correct. This really is not about anyone else except for Terrence Jones. He needed to make a decision that would make him happy, and after taking the time to count his Ricky Roe money weigh his options, Jones decided to play at Kentucky.

Washington fans are allowed to be mad at Jones for drawing out this process. At the end, he seemed much less like a torn teenager and more like a teeny-bopper trying to up his twitter followers. But Washington fans shouldn't take it out on Jones from deciding to go to a different school.

Its like breaking up with a girlfriend. She can decide to flirt with someone else while you two are dating, and if she decides to leave you for this other guy, you can either be bitter and upset about getting dumped, or you can realize that there are quite a few other fish in the sea. Washington still has a team that will be in the top 15 next season. They still should be the early favorite to win the Pac-10. While adding a talent like Jones is never a bad thing, its time to focus on the fact that a perimeter consisting of Isaiah Thomas, Abdul Gaddy, and Terrence Ross is a scary thing.

As far as Calipari goes, well, its the same as it always is with him. He's certainly not completely innocent here. I think only the most naive college basketball observer would take him at his word. But if Terrence Jones truly did call him and say that he wasn't positive he wanted to be at Washington, what is Cal supposed to do?

What would you do in that situation?

My guess is the exact same thing.

Only an idiot would turn down a chance to date a supermodel just because she has a boyfriend.

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