Jones' Agent: "Kevin Is Angry" - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Jones' Agent: "Kevin Is Angry"

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MORGANTOWN -

Former West Virginia University basketball star Kevin Jones finally realized his dream of finding a home in the NBA. It took a little longer than expected, but the undrafted free agent eventually found work with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jones has agreed to a three-year contract including a partial guarantee with the Cavaliers. That means Jones will be guaranteed some amount of money regardless of whether or not he sees any regular season action with the Cavaliers.

Jones agent, Bill Neff, was with his client throughout the draft when he saw 60 picks come and go without any of them having the name, Kevin Jones.

"Kevin wanted to be drafted and was not," Neff said. "He is one of those guys who doesn't win the beauty contest, he just wins the battle."

Jones led the Big East in scoring and rebounding last season. Ultimately what hurt Jones was his size for the position he is projected to play in the NBA.

"The NBA draft is a beauty contest," Neff said. "It is why they so often fail. When I did research over the last ten years, the number of second rounders who had a good career is such a limited number. They are picking the tallest and most athletic guy. Kevin was perceived as a little bit short. He did all of these wonderful things, but he is 6-foot-6 and a quarter in bare feet. Can he really make it in our league? The fact that he led the second best conference in scoring and rebounding didn't matter."

By going undrafted, Jones and Neff had the opportunity to try and analyze NBA rosters and look for the best opportunity to make it in the league. That analysis led them to what looks like a good fit in Cleveland.

"Knowing that Cleveland has had a history of developing young guys, they are doing things right," Neff stated. "They have a young executive and Mike Gansey is there as an executive and gets Kevin, we kind of joined up with them and are working on a concept where we get some guaranteed money in return for them getting to own his rights for a couple of years."

Former WVU Guard Mike Gansey attended several West Virginia University games and was there not as a former Mountaineers, but as a scout for the Cavaliers looking at Jones. Gansey always liked what Jones did on the floor and was certainly in his corner when it came to convincing the Cavaliers that they should sign Jones.

"He was a big proponent," Neff said of Gansey. "The family knows Mike, but my understanding is that Mike Gansey was a big proponent. There was a third guy, Trent Leggett, who was also a big proponent of Kevin that bought in and was further along than Mike."

Neff is preparing Jones for the potential that he may have to spend some time in the NBA Development League. The Cavaliers have an affiliate in Canton, but do have a history of being patient with players and helping them eventually become solid NBA talent.

"You're talking Udonis Haslem," Neff stated as a comparison. "Haslem went to France for a year and worked his way through the system. We're trying to do the same thing. Kevin will go to the Summer League and may have to play some in Canton in the D-League as part of the deal. They have done this successfully in the past with other players."

Kevin Jones is done riding an emotional rollercoaster that included the excitement prior to the draft, the disappointment following the draft and now the relief that the process is over. It was all part of a crazy 48-hour period for Jones and his family.

"There was a lot of disappointment during the draft and thereafter," Neff said. "Kevin and his family were stunned a little bit. There was real disappointment and I tried to look for a way to make this a positive and there is now a feeling that we're headed in the right direction. We had a setback and now we're headed in the right direction."

Jones will head to Cleveland on July 5. He will work out with the Cavaliers Summer League team before beginning competition in the Summer League in Las Vegas about ten days later. That will be Jones' first chance to prove himself in a game setting and Jones likely will not disappoint.

"There is a big chip on his shoulder. I think he is going to do really well and I think he is angry. I think he is like ‘how could you dare not pick me after what I have done?' I think there is a big chip on his shoulder and that is okay to use it in a positive way. I think he is definitely angry and I think the people in Las Vegas better watch out."

Jones will begin the next step in his career about the way his college career started. Jones arrived in Morgantown as a smaller player who eventually bulked up and learned how to be an even better rebounder. He has worked on his jump shot and once again needs to overcome adversity to succeed.

"The story of his career is to be underrated," Neff stated. "But he always beats you and always gets the rebound. You don't go to the NCAA's four times and have a coach like his call you the hardest-worker he has ever had and not succeed."

Jones finished his college career scoring more than 1,800 points and grabbing more than 1,000 rebounds. He was just the second player in school history to do that. The first was Jerry West. That is some select company. Those who are not betting on Jones better watch out. His work ethic and desire to prove people wrong might be enough to lead him to a successful NBA career.

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