Former WVU Standout Kevin Jones Turning Heads in NBA Summer Leag - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU Standout Kevin Jones Turning Heads in NBA Summer League

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Matt Hauswirth, MORGANTOWN - The NBA spotlight typically shines down on the superstars of the league. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant are among a few that receive the most publicity on a regular basis.

But rarely do you hear about the role players and their journey to the National Basketball Association.

Former WVU standout Kevin Jones will be the first one to tell you that this is not how he envisioned his professional basketball career starting out. But he has continued to stay the course in hopes of getting back to the highest level of competition.

Jones recently accepted an invitation to play for the Indiana Pacers during the NBA Summer League in Orlando, Florida. According to Wheat Hotchkiss, a writer for the Pacers' website, the former Mountaineer is making a positive impression within Indiana's coaching staff.

Jones recently spoke with West Virginia Illustrated following the conclusion of the 7th annual Bob Huggins Fantasy Camp in June.

"I think I have a better understanding of everything and how everything works," he said. "I think I know myself better as a player, too. I know what teams are looking for out of me. So I'm just trying to work on that and just trying to find my niche and where I would fit in within an NBA system."

The former Big East Conference leading scorer and rebounder is in the process of his second audition in front of NBA personnel, with the hope of this time landing a spot on the Pacers roster.

He also spoke about what exactly he's working on to improve his game.

"I'm just refining some stuff I'm already good at. My rebounding, perimeter shooting and defending as always, and just trying to work that into a team system. But nothing major; just little tweaks in my game that I think I can get better at," he added.

Among the most interesting points in Hotchkiss' article on Pacers.com was the fact that Indiana assistant coach Dan Burke spoke about which players had stood out during practices prior to the team's first Summer League game on Saturday, July 5th.

Kevin Jones was the first and only name to be given.

"Kevin, he's got the ability to use his body; create angles," Burke said, according to the article on the Pacers team website. "He runs the floor, he shoots the mid-range jumper. He's a great rebounder...he's that one that's really jumped out for me."

To the disbelief of many Mountaineer fans, Jones went undrafted during the 2012 NBA Draft. However, the Cleveland Cavaliers immediately signed him as an undrafted free agent. But the Cavs soon cut him from the roster only days before the season opener, resulting in Cleveland's D-League farm team, the Canton Charge, to pick him up.

Following two years of going back and forth between the Cavaliers and Charge, and even being named a starter in the 2014 NBADL All-Star Game, Jones decided to sign a contract overseas with the San Miguel Beermen of the Philippine Basketball Association.

Jones dominated the competition overseas, tallying 26.6 points and 15.1 rebounds in nine games.

"It was great actually," he said. "I liked it. Everybody out there mainly spoke english. There were a lot of the same restaurants as America. Everybody treated you well, and they love basketball out there. So that was great to see."

Kevin Jones is the only former West Virginia Mountaineer men's basketball player to suit up in this year's Orlando NBA Summer League. Devin Ebanks has been rumored to be playing in the Las Vegas NBA Summer League.

Although it's taken a bit longer to stay on an NBA roster, Jones' dream remains the same.

If you know anything about Kevin Jones, his work ethic will not allow him to fail. As the Indiana Pacers are finding out, his drive to succeed outweighs any natural ability that may be lacking.

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