Consistency from Terrence Jones is huge for Kentucky


When making a list of the most-criticized and speculated-about players in the country, Kentucky’s Terrence Jones has to be toward the top.

Begin with the fact that he was the Preseason SEC Player of the Year, add in lingering charges of inconsistency on the floor, and pile on incidents that don’t help to shake the label of “immaturity” off the court, and you can see why.

But on Sunday afternoon, Jones showed the side of his game that many have raved about, the side that still has NBA scouts nodding in agreement, pointing and saying, “If he can consistently do that, he’s a pro.”

He finished with 19 points on 9-of-13 shooting, helping the No. 1 Wildcats to a 74-59 win over No. 16 Florida on the road in Gainesville, Fla.

This performance from the Oregon native showed who Kentucky (already dominant, as is evidence by their 30-1, 16-0 record) can be when firing on all cylinders.

The continually aggravating case of Jones, blessed with a 6-9, 252-pound frame, boils down to how good he, personally, wants to be.

Were one to have seen Jones play for the first time on Sunday afternoon, it would be difficult to understand the criticisms that have followed him to this point in his career.

Lack of aggressiveness? Kentucky fed him the ball in the post and he attacked the rim, scoring 14 of his 19 points in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting.

Emotions? Jones drove the early Wildcat attack and was positively emotional, in contrast to what has been seen in the past.

When Jones is clicking, Kentucky is clicking.

Yes, they have other scoring options in Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Anthony Davis, but bringing Terrence Jones into the fold, along with the others, means athleticism in the offensive attack that can be matched by less than a handful of teams in the country.

Bottom line? Consistently aggressive and focused play from Jones in March will make it that much more difficult to beat this supremely talented bunch of young Wildcats.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

#CBTtop100: Counting down the Top 100 Players in college basketball

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We’ll be counting down the top 100 players in college basketball all week long. Be sure to check back here throughout the week as the countdown continues over @CBTonNBC.

Jalen Coleman-Lands cleared to practice

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 10: Jarrod Uthoff #20 of the Iowa Hawkeyes defends against Jalen Coleman-Lands #5 of the Illinois Fighting Illini in the second round of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 10, 2016 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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When Illinois takes on Southeast Missouri State in the opener of the 2016-17 season, the Fighting Illini should have it’s starting backcourt out on the floor.

According to Jon Rothstein, Jalen Coleman-Lands has been cleared for all basketball activities. The sophomore two-guard has been recovering from a broken bone in his right hand.

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.

Coleman-Lands will team up with Tracy Abrams, a point guard who was granted a sixth year of eligibility after missing the past two seasons due to injuries.

This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.

The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.

NBC Sports projected Illinois to finish eighth in the Big Ten this season.

Curtis Jones jumps over Tom Crean

Tom Crean
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Indiana held its annual Hoosier Hysteria on Saturday night.

One of the highlights from the team’s dunk contest was when freshman guard Curtis Jones jumped over Indiana head coach Tom Crean.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a newcomer us his coach as a dunk contest prop. Last week, Rawle Alkins cleared Arizona head coach Sean Miller en route to a reverse jam.

Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.

WATCH: Edmond Sumner take off from the foul line

CINCINNATI, OH - FEBRUARY 03:  Edmond Sumner #4 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball during the game against the St. John's Red Storm at Cintas Center on February 3, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Edmond Sumner is a big reason why Xavier is likely going to be a preseason top-10 team.

On Saturday night, during Musketeer Madness, Sumner won the team’s dunk contest when he took off from the foul line.

Sumner defeated freshmen Tyrique Jones and Quentin Goodin. J.P. Macura, the reigning Big East Sixth Man of the Year, took home the honors last year.

The 6-foot-6 redshirt sophomore is coming off a debut season in which he averaged 11.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game.

WATCH: Duke goes crazy for Chase Jeter’s bottle flip

PROVIDENCE, RI - MARCH 17:  Chase Jeter #2 of the Duke Blue Devils looks on in the second half against the North Carolina-Wilmington Seahawks during the first round of the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Dunkin' Donuts Center on March 17, 2016 in Providence, Rhode Island.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

The bottle flip has become an international sensation in recent months.

It’s as simple as it sounds: flipping a water bottle in the air, attempting to have it land upright.

Duke sophomore forward Chase Jeter, in front of 9,300-plus fans, successfully pulled off the bottle flip on Saturday night at Duke’s Craziness.

Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.