The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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College Sports

November 17, 2010

Jones most improved as WVU’s best player

MORGANTOWN — Kevin Jones is the best player on the 2010-11 West Virginia University men’s basketball team.

The 6-foot-8, 260-pound junior from Mount Vernon, N.Y., also is one of the most improved performers in the Big East, the nation’s best conference last season.

“No question, K.J. is more of a complete player this year,” coach Bob Huggins declared. “He knows how to play. He probably does as much as anybody.”

Jones admittedly expects to be more productive in scoring and rebounding this season.

“Coach Huggins wants all of us to step up every year,” he said. “I mean more to the team and I’ve prepared to be an improved player.

“But everyone has to contribute more. That’s the only way we can win the league championship again.”

In WVU’s season-opening 95-71 victory over Oakland (Mich.), Jones scored nine points, pulled down six rebounds and had three steals and a blocked shot.

Last year he started all 38 games, averaging 33.0 minutes per outing. Jones set a school season record with 135 offensive rebounds and averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per contest.

Jones was second on the team in three-point goals with 42. He shot 52.1 percent from the field and 40.4 from three-point range. He also had 272 total rebounds, 41 assists, 34 blocked shots and 22 steals.

“I can rebound pretty well, even against bigger guys,” Jones said. “And my rebounding could take some pressure off someone who’s in foul trouble.”

Huggins said, “He’s become so much better in perimeter defense. He passes the ball so much better. His understanding is so much better. He’s playing defense generally so much better.”

The veteran coach also noted that Jones is the team’s best rebounder at both ends of the floor. 

Huggins noted that Jones doesn’t have great ball skills but that he has much improved ball skills.

“I don’t think there’s an area in the game that he’s not a better player,” Huggins said. “He’s running better and he’s a lot stronger.”

Jones exemplifies what an all-around basketball player should be, inside and out. He defends the perimeter and the post area.

He was named to the NCAA Tournament East Regional all-tournament team last March.

As a freshman, he played in all 35 games and averaged 6.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. His shooting percentage was 49.5 from the field. He had a total of 170 rebounds. He also logged 22 assists, 23 blocked shots and 21 steals.

At Mount Vernon High School, he averaged 23 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks per game.

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