Posted by Jeff Borzello
With eight new faces and five graduating seniors, West Virginia was scheduled to undergo a complete overhaul next season.
Now, Bob Huggins might have to face it without arguably his best player from this past season. Kevin Jones, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, has decided to test the NBA draft waters. Jones will not hire an agent, though, so he can still return to the Mountaineers for his senior campaign.
“A lot of scouts are really high on him if he does come out this year,” said Gerard Jones, Kevin’s older brother and advisor.
Jones averaged 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds last season, leading the team in rebounding and ranking second in scoring. His inside-outside skill set makes him a tough match-up for most opponents. In most mock drafts, though, Jones is not listed.
If Jones leaves, that will be the sixth member of last year’s team to move on. Guards Casey Mitchell, Joe Mazzulla and Jonnie West, and forwards John Flowers and Cam Thoroughman, were all seniors.
The top returnees, outside of Jones, are guard Darryl “Truck” Bryant and forward Deniz Kilicli. Bryant is a scoring point guard who can create for himself and teammates, while Kilicli showed flashes of dominating down low. Dalton Pepper will take a bigger role on the wing, while Kevin Noreen should see additional minutes.
West Virginia’s success next season rests on the eight-man recruiting class, led by explosive playmaker Jabarie Hinds and versatile forward Keaton Miles. Hinds could start immediately in the backcourt. Aaron Brown, Tommie McCune and Gary Browne will also be counted upon to play immediately.
If Jones returns, West Virginia will have a very capable starting five. Without him, though, Huggins might have to rely too heavily on the newcomers.
Photo: US Presswire