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Terrence Jones spurns NBA draft, returns to Kentucky

Kentucky v North Carolina

NEWARK, NJ - MARCH 27: Terrence Jones #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after a point against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the first half of the east regional final of the 2011 NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Prudential Center on March 27, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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Terrence Jones, a projected NBA draft lottery pick, has decided to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Jones was the SEC freshman of the year, averaging 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Jones joins Doron Lamb as sophomores who would have been drafted returning to what will be a stacked Wildcat team next year. Brandon Knight, Kentucky’s star guard, decided to stay in the draft. College players have until midnight Sunday to declare for the draft or stay in college, thanks to a silly NCAA-imposed deadline.

The move is a bit of a surprise because Jones was projected as a lottery pick (DraftExpress has him as the No. 11 prospect). He is a 6’8” forward but is very long (7’3” wingspan). He’s a bit raw and his shot needs some work, but he can play as a three out on the wing or as the four on a team using a more up-tempo style, he is a good passer and has range on his shot, and that versatility was attractive to teams. There also was some questions about the consistency of his effort (he seemed to get worse as the season wore on) but in a relatively soft draft his potential was going to get him into the lottery.

That may not be the case in what expected to be a deeper draft next year.