On Saturday, top-ranked Kentucky took down rival No. 4 Louisville, 58-50. The game’s star was Kentucky freshman point guard Tyler Ulis. While the other guards on both sides struggled, Chris Jones’ performance stood out for the wrong reasons.
The senior guard was 3-of-15 off a poor shot selection with 13 points and the lone assist for the Cardinals. But his most notable play came moments into the second half when he hit the deck after Dakari Johnson hauled in a defensive rebound.
The replay revealed a pretty egregious flop, which makes Jones massaging his jaw moments after the incident all the more ridiculous.
After Tuesday night’s 68-43 win over Long Beach State, Louisville head coach Rick Pitino told reporters that he kept Jones out of the starting lineup due to Saturday’s well-circulated theatrics.
“I was very upset at that,” Pitino said, via Adam Himmelsbach of the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We don’t do that type of thing, and then to fake with the jaw like you got hit, you can’t fake like you got hit. You can’t fake it. …That’s something Louisville guys don’t do.”
According to Himmelsbach, Jones had trained himself, both in high school and at Northwest Florida State, to take dives on big men swinging elbows, usually hitting the deck after center had swung his elbow for the third time.
“I tried to time his elbows,” Jones said. “He swung twice. I thought he was gonna swing a third time, but obviously he didn’t…I tried to dodge it, but he didn’t swing, so it made it look worse than it was.”
However, Jones says he is done with that form of gamesmanship, calling the play against Kentucky, “embarrassing”.
Jones played nine minutes in Tuesday night’s win over Long Beach State, recording three rebounds and one assist.