Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
As Kevin Jones sat inside the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden for the NBA Draft last Thursday, it must have been hard for him to avoid imagining David Stern one day call his name.
“I’m not thinking about that right now. I’m just thinking about college first,” said Jones, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Mount Vernon High School who left Sunday to begin his new career at West Virginia under head coach Bob Huggins. “And then if it works out that I’m lucky enough to be here, then so be it.”
While much of the West Virginia team watched the draft on campus in Morgantown, Jones and his brother Gerard watched live and in person as West Virginia junior Joe Alexander was chosen at No. 8 by the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I don’t really know him that well but when we went on visits he was a real cool guy and I just wish him all the best in his career,” Jones said of Alexander.
Jones is part of an incoming Mountaineers recruiting class that includes several New York-area players, including former St. Raymond’s guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant and Long Island City native Devin Ebanks, who recently chose West Virginia over Memphis, Rutgers and Texas after de-committing from Indiana.
“We’e excited about all of them,” said Huggins, who was at the draft to support Alexander. “Truck’s going to get a lot of minutes at the point. There will be times when we play him and Joe Mazzulla together and Mazzulla gets off the ball. And we’re counting on Truck to play heavy minutes.
“And Kevin I really like. I think Kevin’s potential is just outstanding. He’s so long and he’s such a great kid. The common thread with all of them is their work ethic is terrific. Kevin’s got an absolutely great work ethic and he’s going to see a lot of minutes.”
Said Jones: “Whatever position he thinks, I’m going to go out there and play hard. I’m just very excited about getting down to West Virginia this summer.”
Before he went, though, he and several Mount Vernon alums, including Chicago Bulls guard BenGordon, made a plea on behalf of the basketball team, which is under threat of budget cuts.
“They’re having a little budget problem now and I went down there (Thursday morning) to speak on behalf of the sports program,” Jones said. “I don’t think it will be cut.”
Two Mount Vernon products are currently at Rutgers, rising sophomore guard Mike Coburn and Florida transfer Jonathan Mitchell.
Who knows? Maybe one or more of those guys will follow in the footsteps of Alexander and one day hear Stern call their name…and the West Virginia fans at the WaMu Theater cheer for them the way they did Alexander.
“Im glad they’re on my side,” Jones said.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.