The rumors began before last season. If Kevin Jones had a strong Junior season for the Mountaineers to follow up the Final Four run he had a key role in the previous season, then he would declare for the NBA Draft. During the 2009-10 season, Jones averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. His averages during the 2010-11 season were remarkably similar: 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds. The belief was that with Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks moving on to the NBA, that Jones should have had a breakout season and carry much of the load on offense. That didn't necessarily happen, but he still displayed the skills that drew attention the previous season. Namely, strong defense and a strong inside-outside game.
According to the Lower Hudson Journal News, Jones has declared for the Draft, but will not hire an agent. This means that Jones can work out for teams and get feedback on where he stands. He has until May 8 to decide whether to stay in the Draft or withdraw his name. If he withdraws, then he can still play out his last year of eligibility at WVU.
It's an interesting choice for Jones after a somewhat lackluster season. But it could come at a good time with several high profile underclassmen opting to stay in school for another year (i.e.- Jared Sullinger, Doron Lamb, Harrison Barnes, etc.) which could help him earn a higher draft pick. Jones will spend the next two weeks trying to determine his draft status. Right now, DraftExpress.com lists Jones as the #29 Junior, which means that he would be a fringe draft pick at best. After talking to scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational, Jones' older brother, Gerard, says that some scouts believe otherwise.
"A lot of scouts are really high on him if he does come out this year," Gerard Jones told theLower Hudson News.
If he comes back, the Mountaineers will be going through a retooling process next year with seven incoming freshmen and losing six. It will be the first year that all of the players will be Bob Huggins' recruits.