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.
NEWARK — Kevin Jones waited patiently in the stands at The Prudential Center until about midnight Thursday.
With long, dejected faces, he and his family got up and walked out just before the Los Angeles Lakers made the 60th, and final, pick of the 2012 NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-8 Mount Vernon native and former West Virginia star was nearly the Big East Player of the Year this past season, but on this night he wasn’t even Mr. Irrelevant.
“Shock, disbelief,” Jones, a second-team All-American who averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds, told SNY.tv during an exclusive interview. “I thought I did enough to be able to be drafted out of 60 players. But it’s nothing new, I gotta prove myself again. It’s nothing new.”
Jones was one of three New York natives who went undrafted on this night, along with Iona point guard Scott Machado and Xavier point guard Tu Holloway.
St. John’s Moe Harkless went No. 15 to the Philadelphia 76ers, Kentucky’s Doron Lamb was picked with the No. 42 pick by the Milwaukee Bucks and Kyle O’Quinn of Norfolk State went No. 49 to the Orlando Magic. All three are Queens natives.
Lamb was one of six Kentucky players taken in the first 46 picks, with teammates Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist of Somerdale, N.J., going 1-2, respectively.
Jae Crowder of Marquette, who narrowly edged Jones for Big East Player of the Year honors, was selected at No. 34 and landed with the Dallas Mavericks.
Jones, Machado and Holloway — along with undrafted New Jersey point guards Jordan Theodore of Seton Hall and Zach Rosen of Penn — must now hope to work their way onto an NBA roster via free agency and a camp or summer league setting.
“It’s disappointing for sure, but if you can play, you can play, and he can play,” Bill Neff, Jones’ agent, told SNY.tv. “Several teams have called and we will decide [Friday] on a next step,”
Neff had told SNY.tv last week that he had a first-round guarantee from one team, but that team didn’t follow through during the draft.
“Of course this whole situation is going to make me hungry,” Jones added. “I felt like I should’ve been a first-round pick, at most top 40.
“But I mean, things happen. So just gotta find a new way there, but I’m going to make a new way there, regardless, no matter what.”
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.