MORGANTOWN - Sunday's announcement of the all-Big East basketball teams pretty much sums up the kind of season Kevin Jones has endured.
A first-team pick on the preseason all-league squad, Jones was relegated to honorable mention status in the postseason list. That he was the only Mountaineer mentioned anywhere - there were 20 players picked to the first, second and third teams and honorable mention, along with six others on the all-rookie squad - is in no way shocking. That's simply the makeup of a team that managed to win 20 games in the country's toughest conference without a real standout player.
Still, as the regular season ends and the postseason begins with the start of the Big East tournament Tuesday in New York, there are definite signs that Jones is beginning to reassert himself:
Those are all just numbers, though. Here is the most encouraging aspect of Jones' play of late, and it manifested itself most prominently Saturday against Louisville: He is making the mid-range jump shots that were his calling card last season, but had all but dried up this winter.
The reason? Jones said it's because he has cleared his mind.
"I'm just being more aggressive and playing more worry-free. I wasn't doing that before,'' the 6-foot-9 junior said. "I guess I was putting too much pressure on myself.''
And in a way, that goes back to his spot on that preseason all-league team that was chosen by the coaches and announced in late October.
Jones was coming off a sophomore season in which he averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds on a team that won 31 games and reached the Final Four, but he was by no means the focal point of the team or of opposing scouting reports. Yes, he was the second-leading scorer for the Mountaineers, but that was a squad that included NBA draft picks Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks, along with Wellington Smith. He was a role player and played his role well.