In order for it to be written the way Bryant and Jones would like, though, will require not only their best effort but the effort of their young teammates, as well. Far too often during West Virginia's skid, the Mountaineers have gotten a top performance from one or the other, but not from both and seldom from the preponderance of freshmen who dominate the roster.
And even when the Mountaineers have played well for a while, they haven't been able to close the deal. That's what bothers Jones the most - giving up leads in games down the stretch as they have done most recently in four straight home losses to Pitt, Notre Dame, Louisville and Marquette.
"We've had a habit of not being able to step on a team and keep them down when we have them down,'' Jones said. "If we'd done that a few times, we'd be in much better position.''
Against DePaul tonight, West Virginia will face an opponent that is used to being down and not getting up. The Blue Demons have lost eight in a row and 13 of the last 14. But they do pose some issues.
One of those is 6-foot-8, 205-pound Cleveland Melvin, who averages 17.4 points and 7.3 rebounds. Another is 6-3, 193-pound sophomore guard Brandon Young, who scores 14.8 points per game. Melvin had 17 points a year ago in a game at DePaul in which the Blue Demons had a chance to beat West Virginia at the buzzer. The Mountaineers held on to win 67-65.
For his part, Jones also has two more games to bolster his case for player of the year in the Big East before the coaches' ballots are due. He is on track to become just the third player in league history to lead the Big East in both scoring and rebounding over an entire season, but WVU's slide might influence some voters.
Coach Bob Huggins said Monday that shouldn't be the case.
"He's done everything and more that anybody's ever asked him to,'' Huggins said. "If he's not the player of the year, there should be an investigation.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.
Depaul at WVU