Posted: Feb 14, 2011 6:06 PM by Alan Cutler
Updated: Feb 14, 2011 9:14 PM
It was one of those answers you just don't forget. Before the season, I did a one on one interview with Terrence Jones. Almost all the UK interviews are done with a group.
Jones, with great respect, talked about how important his mother is in his life. The way he talked about family, it made you say, hey this is a young man to root for.
He also told me something that made me challenge him after he said it. Jones, who once again is the freshman of the week in the SEC, said he never got nervous playing basketball. The answer really surprised me. Jones went on to talk about it wouldn't matter if there was ten seconds to go in a game and there was a big shot to be made to win.
Jones isn't happy.
The Cats aren't happy.
Cal isn't happy.
True Blue fans aren't happy.
It's more than just getting a reputation that you can't win on the road.
Jones admits to being nervous at the end of games on the road. And, this talented freshman says it's not just him, it's the team.
Three minutes to go and you are on the road and you are looking up at the clock and Jones admits that he's worried it's going to happen to UK again.
"Yeah, I'd say," says Jones.
"Being nervous about losing when you are so close, and so little time, I think it is. It's just something we have to overcome, but just playing without looking at the score and being nervous and just thinking little plays that matter more than you need to, and just play basketball."
That was Jones' attitude when he moved to Lexington. That no matter what was going on, it was just basketball. But, this is Kentucky and the stakes are much higher.
When it comes to UK, Jones believes there are two different teams.
"I feel we play two different ways when it's home and away when it comes to older guys or guys stepping up. A different guy can step up at home but it seems like certain guys go away when we are away."
Certain guys go away? That's the strongest comment of the year.
After the Cats got back from Music City, Josh Harrellson called a team meeting. It last about a half hour. Everyone talked. They even talked about some players getting more sleep and being serious about basketball when they aren't playing basketball.
When I asked Cal about the meeting he said he didn't know about and didn't care. All he hoped was that the players felt good about it.
And it sounds like a broken record, but this still can get fixed. Do you remember 1998? On this date in that season, no one had any idea that UK was going to win the NCAA Championship. That's no prediction about this year. But, it does say that UK can still get much better.