MORGANTOWN - The legendary Jerry West thinks West Virginia University star Kevin Jones probably will not be selected in the first round of next week's National Basketball Association draft.
That shouldn't come as a surprise, though. Most of the scouts have been raising questions about the 6-foot-8, 260-pound forward's chances to be drafted in the first round.
"He did OK in the first day of the combine," West said in an interview from his Los Angeles home. "But the second day of workouts with the (Los Angeles) Lakers he did not do nearly as well.
"I think he probably will be drafted somewhere around the second round, if not in the first round. But we'll see what happens when the draft starts."
West, the West Virginia University all-time superstar from 1957-60, thought Jones shot the ball well in the combine. But he said some people think the All-Big East first-team standout "isn't athletic enough" in some phases of his playing ability.
"He's just not a great athlete," West said. "He shot the ball well, tough, but did not do well in the next workouts with the Lakers."
Jones' size and lack of bulk also may have been mentioned as possible drawbacks, West noted.
The graduated WVU star played in 139 games as a Mountaineer. He finished his outstanding collegiate career with 1,822 points and 1,408 rebounds. He made 49.4 percent of his field goal shots and 67.7 percent of his free throws.
His career averages per game were 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds.
West, who played 14 years in the NBA with the Lakers, has earned numerous awards not only as a great player but as a noted club executive in professional basketball. He is in several halls of fame, including the Pro Hall of Fame.
The Kanawha County native now is associated with the NBA's Golden State Warriors. Two new owners of that franchise hired West as an advisor who reported only to them.
"But I am more than an advisor-much more," Jerry said reassuringly. "It's a lot of time and work in the front office. We need to get more players."
West was aware that Eddie Barrett had died in Huntington. "It is sad for all of us," he said "Eddie was a great guy, and he did a great job when I played at WVU."
Barrett served 16 years as the young-starting sports publicity director. "He was a great person, and really publicized the athletes very well," West remembers.
"He also was very supportive of the university throughout his life."