MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Two teams have promised to take West Virginia's Kevin Jones in tonight's NBA Draft, which lasts two rounds and 60 picks.
One team with a first-round pick has reiterated its commitment to taking Jones somewhere in the draft. A second team has since stepped forward and vowed to use a pick it holds early in the second round to select the 6 foot, 6 inch, All-Big East forward.
The first night of the rest of his life figures to be interesting for Jones and a variety of outcomes remain in play.
No matter what happens once the draft begins at 7 p.m. on ESPN, Jones' agent, Bill Neff, knows the ultimate outcome.
"Wherever he gets drafted, whether he gets drafted, whatever happens, the kid is going to make it and have a 12-year NBA career," Neff said. "He gets it and I think one team is going to get that."
What else is an agent supposed to say, right? And it was Neff who spent time in the final few days before the draft spreading the word about the promises made to his client. It probably shouldn't be alarming.
Then again, consider the roots of the relationship between Neff and Jones and his older brother and de facto advisor, Gerard. The Joneses lived in Mount Vernon, N.Y., and Neff and Saga Sports are based nearby in New York City.
Neff first got to know Kevin Jones when Jones was in sixth grade and kept an eye on him ever since.
"He was in the 12th grade at the Syracuse elite camp and I absolutely hated him," Neff said. "I thought he had mechanical problems and no upside.
"Then I met Gerard in (Kevin's) freshman year and he was talking about how Kevin was going to be this and that and I remember thinking to myself, 'There's no way. He's terrible.'"
So many years, points, rebounds, wins and rewards later and it was Jones who pursued Neff.
Neff further highlights the irony by pointing out that he usually works with the unheralded players and said he has represented more NBA players who made it there by way of the developmental league and the old CBA than anyone else.
"All he did was prove me wrong every step of the way," Neff said. "People keep saying, 'This is his limit,' but the guy continues to overachieve and exceed expectations. I think the only reason he isn't in the first 20, as he should be, let's say statistically, is because he isn't a sexy pick. He's flat-out kind of bland. But at some point the head-to-head numbers and the head-to-head matchups have to matter."