KJ Is The Go-To Guy

Through four games, it's fairly clear what the West Virginia men's basketball team is going to look like this year. It's going to be the Kevin Jones show and everyone else.

That's probably the best chance that the Mountaineers have to win in 2011-12, as the senior forward is one of the best players in the country.

When Jones is on point, the program's all-time leading offensive rebounder is better and more versatile than most. He can hit the three and go inside and battle for easy layups.

I know what you're going to say – it's not going to be good to pressure Jones to score and pretend to be the Da'Sean Butler of this team. But, that's just what needs to happen.

Jones scored 23 points and added 10 rebounds in a 83-48 victory over Morehead State on Tuesday in Charleston, W.Va., and looked Butler-like.

Sure, Jones isn't going to create his shot like Butler. The senior forward will do what he does by scoring garbage points and taking open shots. But, he can be a force that way, too.

I have no problem with Jones taking the lead if other players allow themselves to become role players and solid second and third options.

Fellow senior Truck Bryant has to hit shots and not turn the ball over or consistently battle foul trouble. He needs to be that best second option for WVU behind Jones like Jones was to Butler in 2010 – the year the Mountaineers made it to the Final Four.

On the inside, junior forward Deniz Kilicli has to play big minutes and be a force on offense and defense. He has been anything but consistent in his time at WVU prior to this year, and with the lack of depth on the inside, the Mountaineers will need him to play bigger than he has.

It seems the freshmen and newcomers are starting to understand that it's going to take a lot of effort to improve – it's not just going to happen.

On Tuesday night in Charleston, freshman point guard Gary Browne was the perfect example of that. He was all over the floor putting in the necessary effort and scrapping for the ball, something Huggins and veteran players have been stressing over the past few weeks.

Player like Browne, Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Keaton Miles, Pat Forsythe and Kevin Noreen among others must find their place on the team. That will happen over time.

Jones is about to have a season to remember at WVU. That is something that Huggins has been able to pull out of his veterans like Butler, Joe Alexander, Joe Mazzulla and others.

If Bryant, Kilicli and others can find their roles around Jones, the Mountaineers have an opportunity to be something more than what they've played like in the first few games of the season.

I wouldn't ever count West Virginia out with Huggins as the coach and the talent that the Mountaineers have on their roster.

And with Jones playing as consistently as he has in the first four games, he could carry WVU on his back this year.


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