CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kevin Jones has been pretty good for West Virginia this basketball season. The senior leads the team - and the Big East Conference - in scoring, rebounding and double-doubles. He also helped draw the leading scorer on the women's team to campus.
Sophomore Taylor Palmer is averaging 13.5 points per game for Coach Mike Carey's Mountaineers (12-5) as they enter tonight's 7 p.m. Capital Classic against Marshall (12-4) at the Charleston Civic Center.
Palmer and Jones went to New York's Mount Vernon High.
"I talked a lot to Kevin when I was down to the final few schools, and he told me all about the school," Palmer said. "I think the best part about coming here was I knew I had somebody here basically looking over me. K.J. is like a big brother to me."
The 5-foot-9 Palmer averaged 15.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and was third team All-State and once a MaxPreps national player of the week as a senior at Mount Vernon. She played for Patrice Wallace-Moore, wife of WVU Hall of Famer Lowes Moore, who also played at Mount Vernon.
"We have lots of ties with Mount Vernon, so we used those as much as we could," Carey said. "They're putting out Division I players every year and on both sides - men and women. When I was coaching on the Division II level (at Salem), I had two men's players from Mount Vernon."
This year, the men's team starts Jabarie Hinds, a freshman from Mount Vernon.
"If you grow up in that town, basketball is something you just do when you're young," Palmer said. "You're either at the Boys' Club or at the park somewhere playing basketball. And it gets you out of trouble. Mount Vernon is becoming a place now where if you're not on the right track, you can end up doing something you shouldn't be."
Palmer was on the right track right away this season. She played in 31 games last season and averaged 7.5 minutes and 2.7 points, but didn't get a start until the 2011-12 opener. Palmer scored 33 points and made eight 3-pointers against Youngstown State. She's had five other games with at least four 3s.
For the season, she's made 43 3s, but has also tried 137.
If the Mountaineers play a few postseason games, she'll probably set the school record for 3-point attempts (267). If she gets on a roll, she could set the record for makes (94).
Lately, Palmer has struggled, and in five Big East games she's 6-for-32.
"Probably 8 out of 10 misses are off to the left because of her footwork," Carey said. "That's something we're trying to correct."
It's something opponents are trying to prevent.