Former Mount Vernon Knight Star Declaring Pro

By Jerald L. Hoover
Updated: April 28, 2011

Kevin Jones

Kevin Jones

MOUNT VERNON—University of West Virginia junior combo forward and Mount Vernon’s very own Kevin Jones has decided to add his name to the ever growing list of underclassmen looking to make the NBA their next stop. But Jones isn’t going to hire an agent. Not hiring an agent would allow Jones to test the NBA waters and get vibes as to where he would possibly be drafted if at all this coming June.

There are several benefits to taking this type of road. Firstly, the young men are able to scrimmage in NBA simulated games. Secondly, they are able to get either praise or constructive criticism from some of the great minds of the NBA. Usually, the smarter kids learn from the experience. Thirdly, and for those that decide to return to school; work is done on the court to perfect whatever shortcomings and weaknesses that were discovered when they return back to school.

However, there are a couple of stipulations that surround this practice. The athletes only have 2 weekends to get through all of the scrimmages, meetings and the like. Also, the ball players cannot miss one single class or else they will be deemed ineligible. That sounds like heavy stuff and it is in some respects but that’s the NCAA’s way of policing the privilege.

But using the term underclassman in Jones’ case may be a tad off base. Jones’ other brother, mentor and confidante recently let it be known, “Kevin is eligible to graduate and march across the stage this summer with a degree in Multiple Disciplinary Studies with 3 minors: Business, Accounting and Management.” That’s correct; Kevin just like UConn’s Kemba Walker can graduate this year as juniors. Gerard also stated, “I talked to Kevin a long time ago and I said, ‘we aren’t going to let college just use you, you were going to use college.” So if Kevin decides to pull his name out of the draft in 2 weeks then he will be taking graduate courses this season.

Walker like Jones also put his name in to test the NBA waters. But, after successfully leading UConn this year’s NCAA championship there’s little chance that he wouldn’t hire an agent and become a surefire Lottery pick. Incidentally, Jones was one of the driving forces behind West Virginia University’s second ever trip to the Final Four last year and may have been more attractive to certain NBA teams. Jones was the second leading scorer and rebounder. The Mountaineers also were the Big East Conference Champion in 2010. The first time the Mountaineers made it to the Final Four was in 1959.

But, the 6-foot-8 and 250 pound, quiet storm decided to come back to school. One thing is for certain for as many of the athletes that make the jump to the NBA, there’s always a good portion of those that wished they stayed in school just one more year.

Kevin Jones at this point in time is the exception and not the rule. With so many of the player’s thinking and dreaming of NBA riches and fame, taking part academically in the fullness isn’t something that is common place. This is why so many become career-less after their playing days are over.

So whether or not Jones decides to go back to school for another year it should be commended not condemned.

Jerald L. Hoover

You can also follow Jerald on Twitter @ JerryHoover65