Northwest Profiles: Kyle Wiltjer and Terrence Jones
As Kentucky heads to New Orleans to face Louisville for the right to play in the national championship, Despite the initial appearances, Kentucky forwards Kyle Wiltjer and Terrence Jones have more in common that meets the eye.
The two forwards along are among the most decorated high school players in the history of Oregon high school basketball.
ESPNU Top 100: 9th in 2010
McDonald’s All-Americans: 2010
Three-time State Champions: 5A Jefferson 2008-2010
Oregon Mr. Basketball Honors: 5A 2009 and 2010
Hoops Heritage: Cousins, NBA players Damon and Salim Stoudamire
Born: January 9, 1992; Portland, Oregon
Height / Weight: 6’9″ 252 lbs.
High School: Jefferson High, Portland, Oregon
In his sophomore season, Jones has emerged as one of Kentucky’s front court leaders averaging 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game on 50.1% shooting, proving to be the ultimate compliment to freshman sensation Anthony Davis.
As a result of Davis’ emergence and the play Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones’ role as a scorer has been deemphasized, but his importance to Kentucky’s national title hopes especially on the defensive end, has never been higher.
Jones is averaging north of one block and one steal per game and is arguably the emotional leader for the Wildcats.
Although Davis and his uni-brow have become the face of the Wildcats, Jones’ energy is the driving force behind their Final Four run in New Orelans.
While his sophomore season has been a success, it is hard to argue that his performance matches his freshman campaign.
In his first game ever, the forward etched his name into Bluegrass lore by becoming the second player in Kentucky’s history (Sam Bowie) to record a 20-10 game in his debut, scoring 25 points and securing 12 rebounds against East Tennessee State University.
Jones entered the record books later that season, setting the freshman scoring record with a 35 point performance against Auburn. Five times he was named the SEC Freshman of the Week.
Overall, Jones averaged 15.7 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and started 35 of 38 games.
Jones had nothing short of a sensational high school career at Portland’s Jefferson High School. As a junior, Jones averaged 32 points, 13 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.
Despite the increased attention, he still averaged 30.0 points, 14.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists as a senior.
On the national scene, the forward made a name for himself by scoring 14 points in 14 minutes at the 2010 McDonald’s All-American game and 17 points and 9 boards at the Jordan Brand Classic All-American game.
ESPNU Top 100: 18th in 2011
McDonald’s All-Americans: 2011
Three-time State Champions: 6A Jesuit 2009-2011
Oregon Mr. Basketball Honors: 6A 2011
Hoops Heritage: Dad, 1984 Olympian (Canada) Greg Wiltjer
Born: October 20,1992 ; Portland, Oregon
Height / Weight: 6’9″ 239 lbs.
High School: Jesuit High, Portland, Oregon
Wiltjer entered the season as part of one of Kentucky’s most heralded basketball classes with guard Marquis Teague and forwards Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Anthony Davis.
In a rotation that only runs seven players deep and despite having to compete with Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, and Jones for playing time, Wiltjer has appeared in all of Kentucky’s 38 games.
He has averaged 5.1 points and 1.8 rebounds while playing in 11.2 minutes per game. The scoring outburst of the season came against Loyola on December 22 in front 22,774 when he scored a game-high and career-high 24 points in a win at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky.
The Jesuit-high grad could be an X-factor if Kentucky runs into foul trouble or Davis re-aggravates a leg injury that occurred against Baylor in the elite eight last week.
He is the first player off the bench after senior guard Darius Miller and will be counted on at some point during Saturday’s match-up against Louisville.
For a team that sent multiple players to Division I programs such as Jordan Akwenuke to Santa Clara, Wiltjer was the stalwart. In his senior season, he averaged 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists as a senior and raised a third-consecutive banner for the Crusdaers. On the national all-star game circuit that Jones previously starred in, Wiltjer produced commendable performances.
At the McDonalds All-American game, he scored 11 points with two rebounds. Wiltjer had eight points with five rebounds in the Jordan Brand Classic All-American Game.
Future Portland Pipeline Prospects?
Oak Hill Academy small forward Jordan Tebbutt from Portland-suburb Canby, Ore. played for three seasons at small-school Horizon Christian before transferring to the Virginian hoops factory for his senior season.
At 6’5″ he has attracted the attention of Kentucky coach John Calipari and many others including Washington, UCLA, Marquette.
There is an outside chance that he could be a Wildcat and keep the streak of Portlanders to Lexington alive.
Before a third joins the Wildcat family, Wiltjer and Jones have business to take care of in New Orleans. Stay tuned to see if these Cats can bring home Kentucky’s eighth national championship this weekend.