He scored over 1,800 points. He claimed more than 1,000 rebounds. He graduated from WVU in four years.
[cleeng_content id="170420797" description="Read it now!" price="0.15"]But Kevin Jones — the second-most prolific scorer/rebounder in school history — wasn’t selected in the just-completed two rounds of the National Basketball Association draft.
Jones had led the Big East Conference in both rebounding and scoring in the 2011–12 season. Marquette’s Jae Crowder was selected as the conference’s Player of the Year. Crowder was a second-round selection in the NBA draft.
There were 60 players drafted. The second round was full of foreign athletes, many from Turkey and Eastern Europe. But the name of “Kevin Jones” was never called. He joined a list of West Virginia University players from the past like Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle that were not drafted.
Jones and his agent (who guaranteed the 6-foot-7, 260-pounder would be drafted by somebody at least by the close of the second round) heard from a number of sources the next day. Teams located in foreign countries wanted to know what plans Jones was forming. Teams from the NBA wanted to sign him to a free agent contract that would mean he would be kept only on a “make good” basis.
There were tryout offers. A few wanted him to join their summer league team. But Jones knew that Devin Ebanks had been a second-round pick by the Los Angeles Lakers a few years back and that Ebanks wasn’t guaranteed any money or even a place on the roster until after he had been watched and evaluated while with that summer team.
Ebanks signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Lakers and has been on their roster for two full seasons now.
What Jones did at WVU was not much of a factor in the NBA’s reasoning. The league’s teams based his worth on what they believe he could do during the 82-game grind that is usually in place (if there is a normal season with no lockouts or player stoppages to shorten it).
The only questions that mattered were: “What is his potential? Can he improve and do enough things to be in the player rotation and help us win?”
NBA types are looking for players with one-on-one skills. Can he create his own shot? Can he “run the floor” and then make the shot if it becomes available?
Kevin Jones is not blessed with quickness. His one-on-one skills are not where his usefulness lies.
NBA types ask: “Who can he guard?” His limited quickness makes it difficult to find smaller players he can effectively guard. Most NBA forwards with weight are at least 6-foot-8 and many are taller. The NBA general managers and coaches want to know if Jones could keep 6-foot-10, 285-pound guys from scoring in close.
If his best skills are perimeter shooting and muscling in for offensive rebounds, who is he going to outmuscle that is 6-foot-10 and 285 pounds?
Athleticism. Quickness. Running well. Agility. NBA types don’t see Jones’ “college game” translating well when moved to the National Basketball Association.
He will be given some chance. No money will be extended his way. No guarantee will be forthcoming. And Jones may be going abroad to play his professional basketball.[/cleeng_content]