AP Sports Writer
MORGANTOWN - Kevin Jones' blue-collar work ethic made an early, lasting impression on West Virginia coach Bob Huggins.
A few weeks after arriving on campus in 2008, Jones' ride to a summer conditioning session didn't show up. The scrawny freshman ran nearly a mile from a residence hall and reached the basketball team's weight room soaking in sweat.
"He said, 'I had to run over here. I didn't want to be late,' Huggins recalled recently. "That's been K.J. for four years."
In a trying season for the Mountaineers, the senior continues to amaze his coach.
Jones is closing in on both the Big East scoring and rebounding titles. He's averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds entering his final regular-season home game tonight when West Virginia (17-12 overall, 7-9 Big East) plays last-place DePaul (11-17, 2-14).
Jones is ahead of Marquette's Darius Johnson-Odom (18.4) in scoring and Seton Hall's Herb Pope (10.5) in rebounds.
Notre Dame's Luke Harangody won the dual titles in 2007-08 and 2008-09, and the Irish's Troy Murphy accomplished it in 1999-2000.
Tied for ninth place with Connecticut, West Virginia needs victories Tuesday and at South Florida on Saturday to have any chance at making the NCAA Tournament for the fifth straight season.
It's that uncertainty that Jones is focused on, not individual glory.
"That's secondary to what's going on right now," Jones said. "My biggest concern is getting us into the NCAA Tournament. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to get us there. Without getting us to the tournament, all that stuff really means nothing in my mind."
Jones has been a bright spot on a struggling team that started the season with eight freshmen and could finish with its first losing record in the conference under Huggins.
Senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant and junior center Deniz Kilicli, the other returning starters, are averaging in double figures scoring, although Bryant suffered through shooting slumps for long stretches.
Jones never takes a night off.
"He's been our one constant. Actually, he's been our only constant," Huggins said. "I don't think he's getting the notoriety nationally that he ought to get because he's not a high flyer. He just does his job. At the end of the day, he's going to get his 20 and 11. He does it on an incredibly consistent basis. And we've had a hectic schedule. We've played everybody and K.J., he's carried us on his back."
Jones didn't name the person who was supposed to give him that ride four years ago. He will always remember that long sprint to the training room and the worry of what discipline might await him.
"I'm like, oh my God, I'm late. I'm a freshman, What are they going to do to me?' '' Jones said. "That's always stuck in my mind."
So has a knack of giving it his all, whether it's in the weight room, in practice or in a game.
"It's been ingrained since I was a little kid," he said. "I don't know any other way."
Jones has added 60 pounds to his 6-foot-8 frame since his arrival. This season he's improved his scoring average by seven and his rebounding by 3.5 per game.
"He's terrific. He's a worker," said Georgetown coach John Thompson III. "He's someone that every possession at both ends of the court, he's going to make his presence felt. The effort and the intensity that he brings to the table, as a fan it's fun to watch. As a coach going against him, it's tough to watch. But the kid just plays hard."
Jones and Bryant will be honored before tonight's game. Jones said he hasn't had the time to think about the end of his Mountaineers career.
"It will be an emotional night," Jones said. "In the situation that we're in, you don't have time to reflect on that. You just got to go out there and do your best to win. And that's what it comes down to, us winning. If that doesn't happen, I'm not saying that all this was for nothing, but you feel less good about everything if you don't win."
Jones will finish in the top five in scoring in school history and join three others as the only players with both at least 1,000 points and rebounds. The others are Jerry West, Warren Baker and Lloyd Sharrar.
"When it's all said and done, what people look at what he's done statistically and what he's been a part - a huge part of - I think he's going to go down as one of the great players that's ever played here," Huggins said.