By Cam Huffman
Shortly after he signed a contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers Thursday night, former West Virginia star Kevin Jones was sent right back to where he had been playing, the NBA Developmental League’s Canton Charge.
Basically, the signing by the Cavs kept any other NBA team from signing Jones, who was a free agent after being released by Cleveland in the preseason. The second team consensus All-American is now officially under contract with the Cavs, and he’ll likely be called up to Cleveland when the team thinks they’ll be able to use his services, instead of just leaving him on the bench.
Jones, who’s averaging 27 points and 13.7 rebounds in three games with the Charge, is not the only former Mountaineer connected with the team.
Mike Gansey — a first-team All-Big East player for John Beilein in 2006 — is the Cavaliers’ director of development league operations, and a huge part of his role is running the Charge.
Alex Ruoff, the Mountaineers’ career leader in 3-point field goals with 261 from 2006-09, is also on the team’s roster and averaging 7.3 points and 2.3 rebounds off the bench.
The tailgate party for Wednesday’s Capital Classic, putting the men’s basketball teams from West Virginia and Marshall head-to-head on the court at the Charleston Civic Center, will begin a day early.
WVU head coach Bob Huggins, Beckley-based Little General Stores and Remember the Miners are teaming up for the Second Annual Bob Huggins Tailgate Presented by Little General, Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Moose Lodge in Charleston.
The tailgate will feature a concert and food, and proceeds will go to help fund the Remember the Miners Scholars Program, created in 2011 to provide financial aid to miners, dependents of miners and students pursuing higher education in the mining industry. Scholarships are awarded twice annually during spring and fall semesters. In its first year, the Scholars Program awarded $50,000. Applications to the Fall 2012 Scholars Program are open now.
The tailgate will also serve as a canned food and toy drive for the Southern West Virginia Christmas Outreach Program. Guests are encouraged to bring items to donate in addition to partaking in the festivities of the evening.
“The second annual tailgate will be a great time to celebrate the miners of West Virginia and raise funds for two causes very important to me,” said Huggins. “It’s wonderful to see our annual events grow each year to support our efforts in improving the lives of members of our community.”
Although most fans would still prefer to see the teams meet on the football field, it’s clear there’s still some interest in the WVU-Virginia Tech rivalry, no matter where it’s played.
WVU ticket manager Debby Travinski announced Friday that the men’s basketball game between the two schools at the WVU Coliseum on Dec. 8 is sold out.
Single game tickets are still available for the Mountaineers’ nonconference games against Oakland (Dec. 19), Radford (Dec. 22) and Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 30).
Single game tickets for Big 12 games will go on sale at a later date, but mini-packages are available. The Gold package includes games against TCU, Texas, Oklahoma State and Iowa State for $118, while the Blue package includes the Kansas State, Kansas, Texas Tech and Baylor games for $123.
Family Day packages are on sale for games against Eastern Kentucky and Oklahoma. The packages include four tickets, four drinks, four hot dogs and a bucket of popcorn for $60.
All tickets can be purchased by calling 1-800-WVU-GAME or by visiting www.wvugame.com.