LEXINGTON KY - DECEMBER 11: Terrence Jones #3 and Brandon Knight #12 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrate their 81-62 victory over the Indiana Hoosiers on December 11 2010 in Lexington Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Terrence Jones Coming Back To Kentucky, Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins Will Stay In NBA Draft

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DeAndre Liggins Staying In 2011 NBA Draft, Forgoing Senior Year At Kentucky

One day after Kentucky forward Terrence Jones announced he will return to Kentucky for another year, DeAndre Liggins went the opposite direction, opting to forgo his college eligibility and stay in the 2011 NBA Draft. Early entrants have until 11:59 p.m. Eastern to pull their names out of the draft, else lose their eligibility. Liggins, a junior, felt staying in the draft was his best option, though it's unlikely he will be picked in the first round.

Liggins was known more for his defense at Kentucky, but head coach John Calipari praised the guard as he tested the waters during the draft process. He likened Liggins to Tony Allen, saying he could transform a team and provide versatility wherever he goes.

“(Allen) has transformed the Grizzlies,” Calipari told the Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy last month. “Everybody is looking at DeAndre Liggins, that he could guard multiple positions. He’s athletic, tough, comes up with balls — all the stuff they want in that position.”

Kentucky loses Liggins and Brandon Knight, but keeps Jones while adding a loaded crop of recruits. Calipari has assembled another all-star cast of incoming freshman, ensuring the talent pipeline will continue to flow for the Wildcats, as it has over the past two years.

For more on Liggins' decision and all things Kentucky, head over to SB Nation's A Sea of Blue.


Terrence Jones Will Return To Kentucky, Withdraws From 2011 NBA Draft

Despite one of the weakest classes in recent NBA Draft history, Kentucky's Terrence Jones will be returning to Lexington for the 2011-2012 season.

For Jones, the decision seems like a puzzling one. After teaming with Brandon Knight to lead the Wildcats to the Final Four as a freshman, Jones' stock as an NBA prospect was about as high as it might get, and with a weak draft class, Jones looked like a lottery selection at worst. Choosing to return might cost him millions if the potentially loaded 2012 NBA Draft class slots him further down in the first round.

Jones' return might also hurt him despite being a boon for Kentucky. The Wildcats bring in a fantastic recruiting class that includes Marquis Teague and Michael Gilchrist, and while Jones will be playing with NBA-caliber talent, Gilchrist is reputedly good enough to steal some of the sophomore-to-be's minutes.

Kentucky fans will be happy that their team now looks like one of the nation's two best entering next season. (North Carolina is also stacked.) But they should wonder if Jones' return will be at his own expense.

For more Kentucky sports, visit A Sea Of Blue, and for more SEC, join Team Speed Kills.


Brandon Knight Will Stay In NBA Draft; Terrence Jones Remains Undecided

Kentucky guard Brandon Knight, expected to be a top-10 pick, will remain in the 2011 NBA Draft. Knight announced his decision early Friday, ahead of the NCAA's Sunday deadline to withdraw and maintain collegiate eligibility. Knight's college teammate Terrence Jones, a fellow freshman who is slotted to go anywhere from the top-10 to the mid-first round, will announce his decision on Saturday, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Knight has shot up NBA mock drafts, in part because a number of top prospects -- Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, John Henson among them -- have committed to stay with their college programs. The Wildcat is considered the third-rated (at worst) guard in the draft, behind Duke's Kyrie Irving and UConn's Kemba Walker. Knight could definitely pass Walker as the June draft approaches, as the Kentucky freshman is younger, bigger and perhaps has more potential for growth.

Jones, a forward who played as well or better than Knight through the early part of Kentucky's schedule, has quite a bit of competition at his position. If he remains in the draft, he'd be competing with Derrick Williams, Jan Vesely, Kawhi Leonard, Jordan Hamilton and a bevy of power forwards. DraftExpress currently lists Jones as the No. 11 prospect in the draft pool.

For more on Kentucky basketball, visit A Sea Of Blue.


Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones, DeAndre Liggins Declare For 2011 NBA Draft

Kentucky Wildcats basketball may finally soon have room for all its new stuff: freshmen Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones and junior DeAndre Liggins have announced they'll conduct the ever popular waters-testing of the 2011 NBA Draft. None of the three plans to hire an agent before the May 8 deadline, so a return to school by any of them shouldn't yet be ruled out.

UK coach John Calipari on the three departing Cats:

I support the decision these three have made to take advantage of the process of putting their names in the draft. They were a joy to coach this year and I would love the opportunity to continue to coach them again next season.  I will always support my players in weighing their options and doing what is personally best for them and their families.

Knight and Jones are likely lottery picks -- with Jones going No. 4 and Knight No. 12 in SB Nation's latest 2011 NBA mock draft -- but Liggins isn't exactly a sure first-rounder.

Next steps in the process: Calipari welcomes in a whole new blue-chip starting five, ESPN commentator Bobby Knight rants about the departing three, and spring turns into summer. Life always goes on.

For more Kentucky sports, visit A Sea Of Blue, and for more SEC, join Team Speed Kills.


Brandon Knight Delays NBA Draft Announcement, Unlike Doron Lamb

Doron Lamb's 2011 NBA Draft prospects have been overlooked in the shadow of impending announcements by Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, but Lamb's Tuesday announcement that he plans to return to Kentucky Wildcats basketball is still a pretty big deal. In his UK release he talks up Kentucky's incoming freshman class and says he doesn't want to leave college with his last game having been a loss.

But speaking of Knight, he also says his mind is made up. He's just not ready to tell anybody whether he's staying or going. According to Jerry Tipton, Knight's mother Tonya Knight says the freshman's made his choice, but isn't going to reveal the news yet.

A Kentucky spokesman said the school plans to hold a press conference or issue a news release once Knight is ready to go public. This is probably not a good sign for Cats fans -- who would delay the appeasement of Big Blue Nation? 

For more Kentucky sports, visit A Sea Of Blue, and for more SEC, join Team Speed Kills.


Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones Encouraged To Enter 2011 NBA Draft By John Calipari

Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones have a decision to make: return to college basketball a la Harrison Barnes, Jared Sullinger, and Perry Jones III, or take advantage of a weakened NBA draft array for profit. Assuming there is an NBA draft, of course. With just days left to make up their minds, what will the Kentucky Wildcats stars choose?

Coach John Calipari thinks they should strongly consider going pro, which would free up some roster space for him to bring in the 2013-14 lottery class. Crop rotation, y'all. Cal also has said he's talked to about a dozen NBA general managers while trying to figure out his players' draft standing.

Knight and Jones are both lottery picks if they opt to go. They might even be able to match last year's John Wall-DeMarcus Cousins showing by both entering the top five.

For more Kentucky sports, visit A Sea Of Blue, and for more SEC, join Team Speed Kills.

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