<
>

The Jones recruitment saga continues

The Terrence Jones saga refuses to end. A day after Lorenzo Romar held a news conference about his incoming recruiting class -- a class that still doesn't officially include Jones, who donned a Washington cap at his own news conference Friday before talking to Kentucky coach John Calipari and apparently waffling on his decision -- Calipari held his own meeting with the media. Given NCAA rules prohibiting discussion of unsigned recruits, neither Romar nor Calipari can discuss Jones' impending decision.

What Calipari could discuss is whether or not he would recruit a player that had already committed to another school, which is what many in Seattle believe he is now doing. Calipari's answer? That's not my style, either:

"If [a player] made a verbal commitment, I will, that's, for me ... we just, layoff until there's someone ... the kid publicly says now I've decommitted, which has happened before. If they decommit, but I would not, if he's committed to a school, then I would not ..."

"That's just how I am. I don't think it's what you should do. There's no rule against it. There's no law against it if someone did do it. I just don't do it."

In theory, this answer erases the gray area. After all, Jones publicly committed to Washington. He's yet to publicly decommit from Washington. But he still, four days later, hasn't signed a letter of intent making his enrollment at Washington official. That means Calipari isn't recruiting Jones, right? But if he isn't, then why hasn't Jones put his name on the line that is dotted? If your left-hand choice disappears after you pick your right hand, why wouldn't you make the right hand official?

There's a good chance, of course, that Calipari isn't talking to Jones, and that Jones' second-guessing is coming only from within. Washington fans might not believe that, but it's possible. In the meantime, the Huskies will wait with bated breath for one of the top recruits in the country to finally, mercifully make up his mind, something Jones apparently didn't do before he announced a news conference to, you know, announce his decision.

Whatever happens, this has officially become a mess, perhaps the biggest "actually, now that I think about it" recruiting nightmare since Eric Gordon decommitted from Illinois to play for Kelvin Sampson at Indiana. In that case, at least, Gordon told Illinois he was re-opening his recruitment and checking out other schools. In that case, Gordon got a second chance to consider Indiana after Mike Davis was fired and the coaching situation at IU had (temporarily, as we now know) stabilized. In that case, Gordon never adorned his head with a Chief Illiniwek hat at a climactic news conference. In many ways, Jones' case seems even messier. And like Gordon's case, it brings to forefront the one thing every college coach around the country says he doesn't under any circumstances do: recruit committed players.

How true is that, actually? Maybe, at least anecdotally, we're about to find out.