MORGANTOWN-If West Virginia University's Kevin Jones isn't voted Big East Basketball Player of the Year, Coach Bob Huggins should demand a recount.
The 6-foot-8, 260-pound senior forward from Mt. Vernon, N.Y., has led the league in both scoring and rebounding virtually the entire season. His current averages are 20.9 (points) and 11.3 (rebounds) per game.
With only four regular-season games remaining, Jones is expected to wind up as only the third basketball player in Big East history to finish a season double-double.
That's certainly quite an achievement in the nation's best collegiate basketball conference.
Walter Berry of St. John's turned the trick in 1995-96 and Troy Murphy of Notre Dame did it in 1999-2000.
The 16 head coaches in the Big East vote on that top honor, but a coach cannot cast a ballot for any of his own players. WVU Coach Bob Huggins has said, "K.J." is most deserving of the honor, though. And so do Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin of Cincinnati and Notre Dame coach Mike Bray.
While he can't vote for Jones, Huggins has publicly praised the do-everything forward as one of the best all-around players he has coached in his legendary coaching career.
Jones has more offensive rebounds than any other player in school history. He also ranks high in shot-blocking and steals.
Since his freshman year, Jones has shown tremendous improvement and now ranks among the best as well as the most productive performers in the Big East Conference.
George Von Benko of Uniontown, Pa., for several years a well-known sports broadcaster, has written a book titled "Memory Lane."
It is about athletes and coaches from Western Pennsylvania and the Tri-State area.
"Two former Mountaineers are in the book," he said in a note to me. "Wil Robinson (basketball) is one and the other is Jim Braxton (football)."
Von Benko also featured Johnny Lujack, Ernie Davis and Sandy Stephens, among others.
The legendary Lujack wrote the foreword for his book.
More information about "Memory Lane" is available online.