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March 20, 2011

Jones unsure of WVU future

TAMPA, Fla. — West Virginia University junior Kevin Jones isn’t sure if he will declare for the NBA draft this year or come back to school for his senior season.

Jones was asked what his thoughts were in the wake of WVU’s 71-63 loss to Kentucky in the third round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Of course, like a lot of college athletes, I’d like to play at the next level, but then again I have to see what’s right for me and if I’m ready to make that decision,” Jones said.

Last year sophomore Devin Ebanks declared for the NBA draft after the Mountaineers were eliminated in the Final Four and currently plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, who drafted him in the second round. Ebanks was averaging 3.1 points and 5.9 minutes a game before suffering a stress fracture in his left tibia that put him on the bench.

Two years earlier, Joe Alexander left before his senior year and was a first-round draft pick of the Milwaukee Bucks. He played one year and was released and is currently playing in the developmental league.

Jones, out of Mount Vernon, N.Y., was expected to carry the offensive load for the Mountaineers this season but never got untracked. He scored eight points in the loss to Kentucky and pulled down a team-leading 9 rebounds.

For the year he averaged 13.2 points a game and 7.5 rebounds.

“I’ll probably go home over spring break and think about it,” he said, indicating he also might talk with Ebanks to discuss his options and what Ebanks did.

“I don’t have any timetable. I’m just trying to get this loss out of my system right now,” Jones said.

o o o o o o

While Kentucky’s superstar freshman Brandon Knight killed WVU with 30 points in eliminating the Mountaineers, the unexpected hero was Josh Harrellson, an unheralded 6-10, 265-pound senior who traveled a very tough road to reach this point.

Last season, Harrellson played 12 minutes for Kentucky coach John Calipari. Not 12 minutes in the WVU tournament game. Twelve minutes all year.

His hometown newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, pointed out Saturday morning that “this is the same Josh Harrellson who was told by former Kentucky coach Billy Gillespie, who recruited him, to sit in a toilet stall in the locker room at halftime two seasons ago during a game at Vanderbilt. Harrellson returned to Lexington, Ky., that night in an equipment truck, not a bus or a plane.”

“It was a bad game,” Harrellson told the paper. “He just wasn’t happy.”

After scoring 15 points and pulling eight rebounds, including three on a series of shots that led to a layup by him that gave Kentucky the lead for good, he probably rode home to Lexington first class.

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