|Team: Prairie View,|
H: 6' 1"|
W: 210 lbs
Current: G |
Hometown: Houston, TX
Coming off a terrific 2008-2009 season, the eleventh ranked West Virginia Mountaineers (14-3) are off to a fast start once again. Though DaíSean Butler remains the teams top scoring option and Devin Ebanks receives much of the attention from a NBA perspective, sophomore power forward Kevin Jones has been the teamís biggest revelation and one of Bob Hugginsí most productive contributors.
On first glance Jones does not stand out as being a great prospect due to his average physical tools. This is likely the reason his hometown Syracuse squad declined to offer him a scholarship even to be a backup, despite the fact that he badly wanted to play for them. He has average size for a power forward at just 6-8, and sports underwhelming explosiveness. He compensates for that though with a very nice wingspan, terrific smarts and an exceptional energy level. A true competitor, Jones spent last summer bulking up, and the results have shown on the court. Capable of scoring from the inside and out, Jones has emerged as a legitimate draft prospect and high-level college player thanks to his outstanding versatility, efficiency, and mentality.
From an NBA perspective, the most notable change in Jonesís game from last season to this season lies in his ability to shoot the three. After shooting only 24% from three-point range last season, Jones is now shooting an outstanding 45%. While the amount of 3-pointers heís attempted per game leaves something to be desired as far as the sample size is concerned, and he sports a fairly slow release without getting much elevation on his shot, his ability to spread the floor for his teammates at the power forward position is essential in Bob Hugginsí offense.
While Jones does not possess the quickness or ball-handling skills to create his own shot and attack defenders off the dribble, part of the reason he rarely gets to the free throw line, he knows his limitations and does an outstanding job of keeping mistakes to a minimum. He turns the ball over on just 10% of his possessions, which is an absolutely miniscule rate for a sophomore.
Jonesís effort level afforded him some success down low last season, and with his weight up to 250-pounds, he frequently exploits his length at the basket by establishing deep position and making strong, decisive moves to the rim. Displaying a very soft hook shot with his right hand, the ability to face up and hit an occasional midrange jumper when given space, and a willingness to initiate contact, Jones shoots an outstanding 51.7% in post up situations according to the data at our disposal and ranks amongst the most efficient players in our database with his 64% true shooting percentage, a testament to his shot-selection.
When he isnít outworking opposing big men on the block, Jones is able to make an impact by using his length to crash the offensive glass, finish plays operating intelligently off the ball, or run the floor in transition. An excellent finisher thanks to his length and fearlessness in traffic, Jones also ranks amongst the most prolific offensive rebounders in our database. Since he isnít the tallest, athletic or most skilled player in the world, itís good to see Jones be able to contribute to his team in different ways, something that could potentially help his transition to the NBA.
Defensively, Jones has all the tools to be an outstanding college defender with his terrific length and consistent effort level. He spends most of his team at the 5-spot for West Virginia, and though he does struggle against some of the more powerful back to the basket players he encounters, he does an admirable job competing. At his size, NBA scouts will want to see him move down one position if not two, and this is an area that raises some concerns. Jones does not possess ideal lateral quickness to defend wing players, but he has some impressive possessions regardless switching out onto the perimeter on the pick and roll, mainly due to his length and smarts. If he can improve his comfort level in that regard and show more discipline when closing out shooters, his transition to the NBA would be much more plausible.
It is hard not to be impressed by what Jones brings to the table; heís an easy player to like. He already does many of the things that NBA teams look for in a role-playing forward, and does them exceptionally well. While his upside is clearly limited by his average physical tools and shot-creating ability, heís only a sophomore and still has room to improve. If he can prove that he can consistently shut down opposing perimeter players, develop his ball-handling skills somewhat, and continue to expand his shooting range, Jones will only improve his quickly rising draft stock.
The Mt. Vernon senior almost single handedly brought his team back from a second half double-digit deficit in picking up game MVP honors. Jones went on a personal 7-0 in the fourth quarter, highlighted by his lone three-pointer that thrust the Knights back into the game.
Jones is an interesting prospect because he is a dominant inside presence, but is clearly trying to make the transition to becoming more of a perimeter threat. While Jones has shown the ability to knock down shots from beyond the arc, he also has a tendency to line drive his shots when he rushes. This was the case against Patterson Catholic, as he shot just 1 of 10 from the outside. At this point, Jones is pretty much just a catch and shoot guy when he is on the perimeter, he needs room to get his shot off and isnít much of a threat to shoot off the dribble. If left alone though, he can hurt a team from the outside. He rarely if ever will attack the basket off the dribble, but from what we have seen, he needs to develop his right hand more before he can become a legitimate threat in this sense.
The majority of the damage Jones does offensively comes inside the paint. Despite scoring in bunches when he gets touches down low, Jones doesnít have a very developed post game. He does a great job sealing on the block and occasionally shows off a baby hook shot, but typically his move is to get the ball and get to the hoop by whatever means possible. Jones has a motor that never stops running, and is tenacious on the offensive glass (he had 8 offensive rebounds against Patterson). While his non-stop energy down low will certainly help him pick up scrappy points in the Big East next season, he will need to develop his back to the basket game some more. At just 195 pounds, Jones wonít be able to simply rely on his effort and athleticism to get points against bigger and stronger post players.
On the defensive end, Jones proved to be a disruptive force by combining his non-stop hustle with great anticipation. Even though he isnít that big for a post player, he was still able to block a couple of shots and alter plenty more thanks to his tremendous timing. Jones constantly has his head on a swivel and keeps his long arms up, which allows him to deflect and steal a lot of balls.
Jones is an athlete, plain and simple. Skill wise, he needs to improve almost every aspect of his game if he is going to become a polished player. What will help make him a contributor right away though is his seemingly endless amounts of energy. You can tell by watching that Jones loves to play and is having fun out on the court. His tenacity and second effort will allow him to hang in the Big East while he continues to work on becoming more of a perimeter threat.
Class of 2008 power foward Kevin Jones (Mount Vernon/Mt. Vernon, NY/2008) also turned in a nice performance for Team Livingston shooting 5-of-10 from the floor while collecting 8 boards. Jones looks like he is still growing into his body as he displays an enormous wingspan for his 6'7" frame.[Read Full Article]
Tenacious; if there is one word to describe how Kevin Jones plays on the basketball court, that would be the one. The junior power forward had the most impressive performance this weekend of any underclassmen. He dropped 43 points on the Juice All-Stars in a semi-final win, and came back with another very impressive performance in the championship game on Sunday. Jones isnít the strongest player on the court, but what he lacks in bulk and strength he makes up for with hustle. He easily eclipsed 10 offensive rebounds in the championship game, and came very close to that mark in the semi-finals as well.
Jones is a long, athletic forward. He runs the floor very well, often beating his defender down the floor for easy points. He has nice touch with both hands down low in the post, and was able to drop several baby hook shots over opponents when left in a one-on-one situation on the block. His game down low still could use some work however, as he does get taken out of his game when facing stronger defenders.
The interesting thing about Jones is he has the ability to play in the post, but he also showed flashes of being able to play out on the perimeter as well. His ball-handling needs improvement, as does his shot, but at times he showed very nice touch from the outside. Jones hit two huge 3-pointers in the final minute of the semi-finals that helped Mt. Vernon advance.
Defensively, Jones was impressive. His length and quickness allow him to cover players out on the perimeter, although he was primarily down in the post. He spent much of the second half of Sundayís championship game covering Justin Burrell, and was able to hound the big man into several turnovers.
Jones still has another year to develop, and if he continues to improve his perimeter game, will make for a very nice inside-outside threat at the college level.