Keeping up with the Joneses
After recently signing a partially guaranteed three-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, no one could blame former West Virginia basketball player Kevin Jones for doing a little car shopping.
But that wasn't why the Cavs' new power forward was at C&O Motors Saturday in St. Albans.
No, Jones wasn't there to buy anything; he was actually trying to give back a little bit.
Jones will hold his first basketball camp next weekend at George Washington High School, and in conjunction he appeared at a meet-and-greet at C&O, allowing campers to sign up and get a chance to get to know the camp leader a little bit.
"My brother Gerard actually had the idea for the camp thing," Jones said. "I kind of wanted to wait until I was in the NBA, but it was a good idea at the time and I think it will be a good thing for the state."
The former Mountaineer isn't rolling into town next week without some help. Among those slated to help out are fellow WVU alums Da'Sean Butler and Truck Bryant, adding more star power to what should end up being a pretty big event.
"It's special," Jones said of having Butler and Bryant. "They are friends and former teammates and definitely guys I look to for advice."
While Butler, Bryant and Jones made their noise and their names in Morgantown, Jones chose to hold his camp in the Charleston area. He and brother Gerard offered explanations for the location.
"First of all it's the capital," said Kevin Jones. "It gives everybody a chance from all over the state to meet up in one place."
"Once we decided to have the camp, we had an area in mind," Gerard Jones said. "Kevin's done so much in Morgantown, we kind of wanted to come downstate and give kids in this area an opportunity as well."
Recent experience should provide Kevin Jones a chance to teach some important life lessons in hard work, disappointment and perseverance.
Jones slipped through both rounds of the NBA draft before signing his free-agent contract with the Cavs, and he admitted that going undrafted was a hard pill to swallow at the time.
"I didn't get back to work right away because that was a crushing blow," Jones said. "It was very disappointing. But I worked hard enough for a long time and I had to get my head on straight and get back to work.
"The main thing I want to teach these kids is the value of hard work and what working hard can do for you."
While the camp is for boys and girls ages 7-16, 22-year-old Jones said one of the biggest reasons he chose to do the camp was to relate to people who share the same passion as he does, regardless of age.
"It will be a great chance for me to get to work with some kids that have the same goal as I do," Jones said. "We are in the 80s as far as kids signed up right now, but we want to be well into the 100s."
The price is $150 and includes meals, drinks, and a T-shirt. Those interested can get an application by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Campers have until the day camp starts to sign up.
Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, email@example.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.