Fri May 06 12:37pm EDT
The sight of Kentucky freshman Brandon Knight sitting alone at a podium Friday morning announcing he's NBA-bound undoubtedly raised an obvious question in the mind of every Wildcats fan doubling as an amateur detective.
Does the fact that Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins weren't alongside Knight suggest they're both leaning toward returning to school?
Many programs would hold a joint news conference if multiple prospects were ready to announce they were remaining in the draft, so at the very least this suggests that Knight and Liggins truly are still undecided. Jones confirmed as much Thursday night when he addressed via Twitter whether he will pull out of the draft by Sunday's deadline, telling Kentucky fans he's "still 50/50 at this point."
The prospect of Jones and Liggins potentially returning next season must have Big Blue Nation salivating at the possibilities. If the high-scoring forward and defensive-minded wing join returners Doron Lamb and Darius Miller and the nation's No. 1 recruiting class, Kentucky could easily challenge or even overtake North Carolina for the top spot in the preseason polls.
It's no surprise that Knight won't be joining his teammates in Lexington again, especially after coach John Calipari said after the Kentucky combine earlier this week that his point guard received the confirmation he was looking for from NBA executives. Knight will likely become the latest Calipari point guard to become a lottery pick after his freshman year, an opportunity he couldn't pass up.
"My main goal was to be a top-10 pick. Nothing's for sure in the draft, but I wanted to hear something like that," Knight told reporters in Lexington on Friday. "A lot of feedback was in that area. Coach Cal basically said whatever my decision was, he'd have a lot of confidence in me and he told me to test the waters, and the feedback was great."
Jones is also regarded as a potential lottery pick, so it certainly wouldn't be a surprise if he followed Knight out the door. Liggins likely won't be selected until the second round, but it would be understandable if he left since he might be fearful that he won't get the chance to showcase his abilities with all the younger talent set to arrive in Lexington next season.
The fact that Jones is "50/50" so close to Sunday's deadline is a bit frightening considering his track record making big decisions like this. The McDonald's All-American famously donned a Washington cap at his news conference to announce his college choice last spring before experiencing second thoughts and signing with Kentucky a few weeks later.
Hopefully Jones will be more secure in whatever decision he makes this time. Either way, we should know for sure in the next 48 hours.