Jones shows maturity by answering questions



He sat in a blue chair about 16 hours after he was a passenger in a highly publicized incident, the swarm of media around him, waiting for the questions to come.

The first: How was your day?

“It was all right,” Jones said, and he couldn’t resist a smile after that one. Not because he was intentionally coy or joking, just that he knew all of what had transpired could not be simply summed up with “all right.”

He ended up expanding on that answer — a lot. He held court for about 10 minutes, giving his side of the story on the accident, denying reports that said he had been drinking, explaining why he fled the scene when a close high school friend and a college teammate stayed behind. He answered them all.

Not to overdramatize what he did. The incident was not that serious, from a broad perspective. He wasn’t at fault, and by his and head coach John Calipari’s accounts, didn’t do anything wrong besides going out late to support a friend the night before a game.

Which, on the flip side, shouldn’t be overlooked. He said he was going to listen to a friend perform at a song at a venue. That’s nice of him. It’s also irresponsible to do that after midnight on the night before the first game of a season when you’re supposed to be a new man and a matured leader. True, it’s understandable since he is a college kid, but he’s also a college basketball star at Kentucky, where players are “held to a higher standard,” as Calipari wrote.

But he still had to answer for his actions. UK’s Media Relation department had predetermined that he would need to do so, but Jones seemed more than willing to take full accountability for his night, both to us and to his team.

“He apologized to us. You could tell he was really sincere,” Darius Miller said. “He did a great job of taking responsibility for his actions. We’re not really worried about it, we’re just moving on.”

Unless, of course, it’s after 11 p.m. on weekdays or midnight on weekends, which is the newly instituted curfew imposed by Calipari.

As for UK, it’s hoping to move on with better play from the veterans.

For the first time ever, UK started three freshmen in a season-opener. They needed them. Jones, coming off the bench, only scored eight points. Darius Miller matched that, but had zero in the first half.

“I just think I have to do a better job of being ready every single game, being more consistent and respecting our opponent,” Miller said. “I think I got caught up in last game and how easily we won (an 85-point win over Morehouse). I really can’t be doing that.”

It would help if he didn’t. Calipari knows the value of having steady production from veterans. Last season, it’s all he talked about down the stretch, when games were increasing in importance and the veterans’ play was stagnant.

Against Marist, he criticized Miller and Lamb (and would have criticized Jones had he not been fresh off the accident, which changes the equation for a player when he knows all anyone is talking about is him).

“Defensively, Doron and Darius are not where they need to be with the rest of these guys,” Calipari said. “I don’t know if they were uptight because it’s the real season now and the stuff is on and we’re this highly ranked team.”

I hope that’s not the case, because that’s the opposite of how it should logically work. Relying on freshmen and hoping for veterans to pull through is what UK doesn’t want.

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