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For Jones, It’s All About Winning

WVU forward doesn’t need extra attention

April 3, 2010

MORGANTOWN - There's nothing flashy about West Virginia forward Kevin Jones.

Even his name is bland.

He doesn't draw attention to himself, he's never in trouble, he doesn't make many mistakes.

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Don't tell the NCAA, but this guy is a real pro. Guys like that don't make for the best stories. Let's face it, flaws sell.

''That really doesn't matter to me,'' he says. ''I just go out there and do whatever my team needs me to do to win. I mean, the credit and everything, I don't care about any of that. As long as my team is winning, I'm fine.''

Still, by now, he has to to at least be ''rated'' after two seasons of being almost famously called ''under rated'' - assuming that juxtaposition is allowed.

Mountaineers fans love the guy. Need a big rebound? He'll get it. Need to knock down a big shot, whether it's one of his patented turnaround jumpers or a 3-pointer he's added to his game? He'll hit it. Need a steady hand during turbulent times? This guy is as stone-faced as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

''I'm a pretty peaceful person,'' Jones said. ''I don't really like a lot of drama. I don't really like a lot of attention coming my way. I just go out there and play basketball. That's what I love to do.''

Sometimes - like against Kentucky in the Elite Eight when the shots are falling - he'll pound his chest while running back to play defense, but that's a rare display.

''If you don't like playing a game that you love, there's no reason to play it,'' Jones said. ''I just go out there and try to have fun every game no matter what.''

That he's playing the game he loves is really no surprise. That he's playing at West Virginia might be.

Jones is from Mount Vernon, New York, a place that is, well, nothing like Morgantown.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who says he can only offer recruits a pair of new shoes and hard work, made that happen.

''I liked the fact that he was up front and honest and told me that nothing was going to come easy and you've still got to work for it,'' Jones said. ''You've just got to respect the guys' honesty. He can tell you all the lies in the world if he wants to.

''It's hard to go against somebody with a resume like that. When I first came here, I just knew this program was headed in the right direction and this was the kind of program I wanted to be a part of to play at a national level.''

Like most of the Mountaineers, Jones is long. But he's also strong. At 6-foot-8, 250 pounds, he added 35 pounds to his frame and a few feet to his jumper during the offseason.

Being that he's averaging 13.7 points and 7.2 rebounds (he has 251 rebounds this season - 131 offensive, 136 defensive) while playing 32 minutes a game, it looks to have paid off.

''I just have to thank the strength coach,'' Jones said. ''Coach Andy (Kettler) has just been stressing to me that I can't have any letdowns like I did last year when I wasn't bringing as much energy. I definitely didn't let that to happen this year.''

It doesn't matter what Huggins orders, a much-needed jumper, an offensive rebound, heck maybe even a pizza, Jones delivers.

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