PORTLAND – When the moment arrived Friday for high school senior Terrence Jones to announce a decision he hadn’t yet made, the five-star basketball recruit hesitated and then announced his intention to attend the University of Washington.
However, several hours later, he had not made that decision official by signing a letter of intent, leaving his ultimate college destination uncertain.
Jones had made his announcement in the Jefferson High gym as family, friends, teammates, fans and media watched. With six college caps on the table in front of him, his hand started toward the one with the Kentucky logo. Then he shifted to the black cap with the purple “W” of Washington and lifted that one onto his head.
In doing so, the 6-foot-9 Jones seemed to complete what would rank among the best recruiting classes in UW history.
However, Jones admitted that he had arrived at the event still unsure of his decision. And even with the Huskies cap on his head, he admitted he had almost picked Kentucky. And while he told reporters he was comfortable with his on-the-spot decision, he did not immediately follow Jefferson teammate Terrence Ross in signing the binding letter of intent.
Ross had removed any suspense by arriving at the announcement event in a UW sweatshirt and cap. And when he signed in, he became the third member of next fall’s incoming class, joining 6-7 forward Desmond Simmons and 7-foot center Aziz N’Diaye, who had signed earlier.
“Terrence Ross is rare in that he possesses a high-level combination of athleticism and is yet an outstanding shooter,” UW coach Lorenzo Romar said through a press release. “He’s just scratching the surface as how good he can be. He will definitely help with us trying to become a better-shooting basketball team. He gives us instant help in that regard. He also has great size and fits right in with what we’re trying to do defensively.”
The three signees are all four-star recruits: highly regarded, but short of the level of Jones, who is a McDonald’s All-American ranked among the top 10 national prospects available this season.
Before his announcement, Jones had teared up briefly, thanking those who have helped him through his high school career. He also thanked the coaches from schools that had recruited him: Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, UW and Kentucky – in that order.
“I didn’t know myself,” he said later. “I’m just glad I made the decision I made. ... Honestly it came down to Kansas, Kentucky and Washington. I really almost grabbed the Kentucky hat right now just because I feel that they have a lot of things going on there.”
A few hours later, there were unconfirmed Internet reports that Jones had had at least one more telephone conversation with Kentucky coach John Calipari.
Don Ruiz, 253-597-8808