University of West Virginia junior combo forward and Mount Vernon’s very own Kevin Jones has decided to add his name to the ever-growing list of underclassmen looking to make the NBA their next stop. But Jones isn’t going to hire an agent. Not hiring an agent would allow Jones to test the NBA waters and get vibes as to where he would possibly be drafted if at all this coming June.
There are several benefits to taking this kind of road. Firstly, the young men are able to scrimmage in NBA-simulated games. Secondly, they are able to get either praise or constructive criticism from some of the great minds of the NBA. Usually, the smarter kids learn from the experience. Thirdly, and for those who decide to return to school, work is done on the court to perfect whatever shortcomings and weaknesses that are discovered when they return to school.
However, there are a couple of stipulations that surround this practice. The athletes only have two weekends to get through all of the scrimmages, meetings and the like. Also, the ball players cannot miss a single class or else they will be deemed ineligible. That sounds like heavy stuff and it is in some respects. But that’s the NCAA’s way of policing the privilege.
But using the term underclassman in Jones’ case may be a tad off base. Jones’ other brother, mentor and confidante recently let it be known, “Kevin is eligible to graduate and march across the stage this summer with a degree in Multiple Disciplinary Studies with three minors: Business, Accounting and Management.” That’s correct. Kevin and UConn’s Kemba Walker can graduate this year as juniors. Gerard also stated, “I talked to Kevin a long time ago and I said, ‘we aren’t going to let college just use you. You are going to use college’. So if Kevin decides to pull his name out of the draft in two weeks, then he will be taking graduate courses this season.
Walker, like Jones, also has put his name in to test the NBA waters. But after successfully leading UConn at this year’s NCAA championship, there’s little chance that he wouldn’t hire an agent and become a surefire Lottery pick. Incidentally, Jones was one of the driving forces behind West Virginia University’s second-ever trip to the Final Four last year and may have been more attractive to certain NBA teams. Jones was the second leading scorer and rebounder. The Mountaineers also were the Big East Conference Champion in 2010. The first time the Mountaineers made it to the Final Four was in 1959.
But, the 6-foot-8, 250 pound, quiet storm decided to go back to school. One thing is for certain: for as many of the athletes who make the jump to the NBA, there’s always a good portion of those who wish they’d stayed in school just one more year.
Kevin Jones at this point in time is the exception and not the rule. With so many of the players thinking and dreaming of NBA riches and fame, taking part academically in the fullness isn’t something that is commonplace. This is why so many players find themselves without a career after their playing days are over.
So whether or not Jones decides to go back to school for another year, he should be commended not condemned.