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Summer Scouting: Kevin Jones

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With the release of the Wooden Award Nominees this week (seen here), the internet was ablaze with talk of Kevin Jones from West Virginia and how he had been left off the preseason list. Naturally, I had to go back to the NCAA Vault and see if the praise was warranted. I expected it was and was correct in my prediction. Let’s look at some of the things Jones does well for his team.

Offensive rebounding

Jones averaged 3.5 offensive rebounds last season, for a 12.0% Offensive rebound percentage, 8th in the Big East. How does he do it? He has a great nose for the ball, a tenacity for attacking the rim and the strength to hold off defenders fighting for the loose ball.

Here, Jones is around the 3 point line when the shot goes up. He immediately dives to the basket, reads where the ball is coming off the rim and goes up and gets it. It is part hustle and part intelligence of seeing where the ball hits the rim and knowing where it will come off.

Here, he uses his strength to hold off a defender and pick up a foul on the offensive glass.

He shows off his smarts again here by getting into position for the rebound before the shot even goes up. Then, when the ball comes off the rim, he is in prime position to grab the offensive rebound (now he just has to learn to not bring the ball down).

Offensive rebounding is a big part of West Virginia’s game and Jones shows a desire and ability to help on that front. I fully expect him to keep this part of his game functioning this year, as he begins to help out in other areas for the team.

3 point shooting

Jones made just over  1 3 pointer per game last year while attempting 2.7 per game. His form is not perfect, as you will see, but the effectiveness is there, at 40.4% from distance. 3 pointers are not a big part of WVU’s overall game, but Jones has shown he can hit them with some regularity.

In this clip, he recognizes he is open, takes one dribble and knocks down the shoot. The only concern I have is with his landing. A great 3 point shooter will go up square and come down square. Jones lands a little off balance with one foot in front of the other. That is not great technique but he seems to be able to make shots from behind the college arc, so WVU fans will have to live with it.

Jones shows he can also catch and shoot in motion in this clip. Again, notice how he lands off balance. I will have to check in with him later this year to see if his form has changed or not.

Defense

Jones is a tough defender at 6’8″, which will keep him on the floor for a Bob Huggins team. Watch the following clip as he stands up to Kyle Singler and forces him into a tough shot. He uses his body to keep him at bay and is able to move his feet to stay with him as Singler drives to the bucket.

He gets help from Devin Ebanks, but Jones is the main reason why Singler is forced into a tough shot in this clip.

Jones also shows he is athletic enough to help with weakside D, as he comes across the paint in this clip to pick up the blocked shot. His block percentage was 3.1% last year, good for 22nd in the Big East. Again, he uses his length, quickness (for a big man) and intelligence to be a solid defensive player for the Mountaineers.

Defensive Rebounding

Jones uses the same skills he uses to be a great offensive rebounder on the defensive glass. His 13% defensive rebound rate was 42nd in the Big East but was hindered a bit by Ebanks and De’Sean Butler, as they dominated the glass for WVU. With them gone, Jones has the potential to rise up the charts and be one of the premier rebounders in the country.

When WVU plays in the 1-3-1 zone, Jones is in a great position to rebound. He uses his body to ward off offensive players and he has the athleticism to get up to the rim and rip down the rebound.

Room for Improvement

Post moves

With the 3 games I watched, the following clip was the only time I saw Jones post up and attempt a shot from the post. Most of his field goals came from mid range jumpers or layups off offensive rebounds or on the break.

Jones looks comfortable with this turnaround jump shot but he will need to incorporate other moves into his post game to be an effective scorer. West Virginia lost 29 points from Ebanks and Butler alone and will need Jones to step up and take some of that on his shoulders.

By adding some new moves to his arsenal in the post, Jones could see an increase on his 13 point per game from last season. He will need to in order to help West Virginia get back to the NCAA tournament this year.

Jones is one of the top returning players in the Big East for the 2010-2011 season. He is a top candidate for the All-Big East team and if things go well (and is able to increase his scoring output, partly through the post) we could be talking about him for a spot on the AP All-American team.

Fact is, it is a shame he was not mentioned on the Wooden Award Preseason Watch List. Regardless, we should be talking about him in the top 50 for this award at the end of the season.

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Written by Joshua Riddell

October 5, 2010 at 2:36 pm

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