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May 7, 2011Kentucky power forward Terrence Jones announced on Saturday that he'll withdraw from the NBA draft and return to UK for his sophomore season, strengthening a team that seems certain to be among the favorites for the 2012 national title.
Jones, a 6-foot-8 native of Portland, Ore., announced the decision on his Twitter page a day before the NCAA's deadline for underclassmen to stay in or pull out of the draft.
"I've been enjoying being a college player & plan on striving to reach my goal of winning #8 here at UK. I can't leave the BBN just yet," Jones wrote.
Jones helped the Wildcats reach the national semifinals last month, but said he wants more.
"Last year was an unbelievable experience, but we left a lot on the table," he said in a release from the school. "I've decided to come back and help us get back to the Final Four and bring the Big Blue Nation a National Championship."
Jones set the UK freshman single-game scoring record with 35 points against Auburn. He also posted 13 double-doubles, second most among UK freshmen all-time and his eight 20-point games was fourth most by a freshman in program history.
"I'm very happy for Terrence and his family because he did the right thing for his future but he had to come to that conclusion," UK head coach John Calipari said. "He told me he wanted to continue enjoying the college experience, and I told him that was fine by me."
UK freshman point guard Brandon Knight announced on Friday that he would remain in the June draft, and he's projected as a possible top-five pick.
Jones, the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Year, had been projected lower than Knight, typically between the 10th and 20th pick on draft websites.
UK is still awaiting the decision of junior wing player DeAndre Liggins, who was expected to work out before NBA scouts at a combine in New Jersey this weekend.
With the return of Jones, coach John Calipari will have a starter back who will provide rebounding and size to a UK team that will add four five-star recruits, including power forwards Anthony Davis and Kyle Wiltjer.
Jones averaged 15.7 points last season - second on the team behind Knight - and a team-high 8.8 rebounds.