By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald
The West Virginia men’s basketball season was just three games old when Kevin Jones hung an exclamation point on his amazing rebounding ability.
He hiked his total of offensive rebounds to 328 for a new school record in the 97-62 rout of Alcorn State at the Coliseum. The previous high mark was 320, set by Chris Brooks (1988-91).
So Jones, a 6-foot-8, 260-pound senior forward from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., has nearly the entire season to build on this remarkable record.
He also leads the team in scoring, total rebounds (including the defensive boards) and other play phases.
Coach Bob Huggins will tell you that K.J. is a great leader and a wonderful young man.
Ten of his 13 boards against Alcorn State were on offense and helped him score a career-high 29 points — 20 in the first half.
Jones is considered by Huggins as one of the top rebounders and scorers in his 30 years as an NCAA Division I head coach.
Huggins said, “He works hard every day in practice and he helps the younger players. He talks and they listen. You can tell that when you see him at practice.
“K.J. also is a great leader, especially for the younger players and he has become a lot more vocal. They all respect him a great deal.
“He’s special and he is what he is.”
Huggins noted that all really good rebounders have great hands. He has had some who weren’t great jumpers, but they had great hands and came down with the ball.
After that record-breaking performance, Jones jokingly said he wanted to thank his teammates for “missing all those shots” which he rebounded. All of them respect him, though.
Junior Deniz Kilicli said, “K.J. always has been a great rebounder. When he was a freshman, he was a great rebounder. You know he has that already.”
Huggins said, “(K.J.) theoretically could be in the Top 10 all-time scorers and Top 10 all-time rebounders.
“He has had a Hall of Fame career. You can’t imagine how good a guy he is and how good he is to deal with every day.”
Jones, an All-Big East first-team selection twice, has hit double digits in scoring 64 times. He also has 13 double-doubles in his career.
The Mountaineers (2-1) return to action tonight when they host Morehead State at the Charleston Civic Center Coliseum.
Tip-off is 7 p.m. and the game will be televised on ROOT Sports.