I am not the biggest fan of speculation, so, I haven’t really thrown my two cents in on the departure of Kentucky’s DeAndre Liggins, Brandon Knight, terrence Jones, and their possible return to school. I have said this; I don’t blame anyone for following their dream or a chance to better themselves or their families. Saying that, since I enjoy speculation so much (contradiction of previous statement), I thought I would look at the likelihood that these players return to Lexington. Everyone has their thoughts on the subject and everyone has heard rumors of all three leaning one way or the other. Here are my highly uneducated opinions on each player…
BRANDON KNIGHT – Due to Knight being such a great student and taking his education so seriously, he was the one freshman I felt comfortable about staying In Lexington. He came to Kentucky with enough college credits due to taking Advanced Placement courses that he was nearly a sophomore after his summer classes. Even after he declared, I felt comfortable about Knight returning until I read what his mother, Tonya Knight, told Larry Vaught, “Getting his degree is the least of my worries. I know he’ll do that in the summers or whenever. He’s too good a student not to get that done,” If the mock draft boards showing night as a top 10, and sometimes top 5 pick don’t convince you Brandon is gone, this should. Thanks for the memories BK!
DeANDRE LIGGINS – If you would have told anyone in BBN before the season that Liggins would contemplate leaving school early, they may not have blinked. If you would have told them that he would leave school early to chase his dream of playing in the NBA, they might have kicked you in the nuts for saying something so foolish. As we all know now, Liggins departure is a reality. I credit two things to Dre’s declaration…First, DeAndre is 23 years old and his stock may not be higher with pro scouts. Secondly, Dre has a new son who is only a couple of months old. His little boy lived in Cincinnati with his fiancé during the season. Dre had this to say about his young boy before the NCAA Tournament in Tampa, “It has changed my perspective on life even more. It is not about me now. I don’t play for me no more. I play for him.” If you know the situation Dre came from in Chicago, along with these factors, you could see where he may feel it is time to move on. I was confident he may return at first, but now I am less sure.
TERRENCE JONES – From the moment we first became aware of the Portland, Oregon star, everything to do with TJ has been bizarre. From the commitment to Washington last spring on the Friday before the Kentucky Derby, to the several week waver on his commitment, to his new commitment to Kentucky, to his hot start in 2010, and to the subsequent slide down the stretch. Even Jones’ relationship with Big Blue nation has been odd. When is the last time that you heard a fanatical Kentuckian say that they did not care one way or the other about a UK player? Even the fact that we don’t know a whole lot about Terrence is odd. How are his grades? What is his family situation? I once heard an aunt was involved heavily with Jones’ decision making. Since I don’t know a lot about TJ’s background, I will look only at his draft stock. As of now, Jones is pegged as the 12 pick in this summer’s NBA draft. That is right on the border of the lottery, and the big money. As disappointing as his freshman year was late in the season, I believe that a 2nd year at UK could put TJ in the Top 5 of next year’s draft. In other words, without knowing his entire situation, I think a sophomore year would and could benefit him.
How could any of us seriously blame any underclassman for leaving school early? Heck, with names like Reggie Jackson of Boston College, Jerome Richmond of Illinois, Olu Ashaolu of Louisiana Tech, Terrence Jennings of Louisville, Kim English of Missouri, John Shurna of Northwestern, and Orlando Johnson of UC-Santa Barbara entering the draft early, why wouldn’t you? I have had the feeling that, at least, one of Kentucky’s trifecta of draft enrollees would return to Lexington, and I will stick with it, although I am less confident since their announcement. At first, I thought DeAndre would be the returner, but I think now it may be Jones. As is normally the answer in life, the only thing we can do is wait. C! A! T! S!