Words by Justin Walsh

The great state of Oregon, home to Nike, Kevin Love and the punctuated A. C. Green (not to mention the pale gunslingers Kyle Singler and Luke Jackson) has a new star waiting in the wings — Jefferson High School’s own Terrence Jones.

He’s a point-forward with a nice stroke from behind the trifecta line and also plays effectively with his back to the basket or from the top of the key. His skill-set has garnered both hope and worry. The hope being that Terrence could really put Oregon on the map once and for all in basketball. The worry that is settled on the chest of each Oregon native is that nagging situation that comes up for almost every cat that comes out of the O — the best players always leave.

This is the line of thought. The state puts so much energy being loyal to the player in hopes that he will stay in state to bolster the quality of play in the local hoop game, only to lose them to another school across the country. But surely, these are mature people we’re talking about, right? They wouldn’t get hung up over simply choosing an out of state university, correct?

Remember when Kevin Love turned down Oregon? When UCLA finally played Oregon at the Ducks home floor, an Oregon fan held high a homemade poster displaying the reminder that Love’s kin, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, had a cocaine problem. Other people in the stands rocked poster-board with Kevin’s cell phone number so he could be taunted, crank called or harassed after the game. Let’s not forget about the questioning of his sexual orientation. When Kevin was struck in the eye during play, the entire Team color adorned Duck crowd screamed profanities at him and cheered when he left the game.

This leaves Terrence in a tough spot. How does the apple of the state’s eye balance being loyal to his stomping grounds, while at the same time trying to figure out what’s best for his future when he knows the price for desertion is steep? Will he be greeted with boos, profanity and cruelty whenever he comes back home, should he leave for an out of state school? As of now, Terrence doesn’t have a list of top schools he’s looking at, but he does have a basic group of schools involved in his recruitment that includes, among others, both major Oregon universities, both major Washington programs, Kentucky, Kansas and (Kevin Love’s alma mater) UCLA.

It’s unfair that Terrence’s future standing with his home state is more pertinent than his future on the hardwood, because Terrence is clearly one of the most versatile big men of the past few years. Whether a big name program like Kentucky or UNC wins his LOI (further proof that the rich get richer) or stays home to carry the state on his back, make sure you keep on the lookout for Portland native, Terrence Jones.