• By John Antonik
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  • July 19, 2011 12:02 PM
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So, how does a veteran player keep himself fresh with all those games and off-season conditioning sessions?

“Lots of ice,” laughed West Virginia University senior Kevin Jones.

The days of college basketball players going home to spend the summers with their families and playing a little summer league ball at the local park are definitely over. KJ has spent almost his entire summer here in Morgantown, getting to go home just once in June for a three-day weekend.

What the average college basketball fan doesn’t realize is that a 35-40-game schedule is only part of the equation. The vast majority of a players’ remaining time is spent getting ready for those 35-40 games per year.

Again, how does a player keep his mind and body fresh?

“Mentally, when you are done playing basketball just do what you enjoy, whether that is watching TV or playing video games or going to the mall; I just try and find something that makes me happy besides basketball, and then you come back to it,” explained Jones.

Because so much time is devoted to the game, Jones says it’s almost like a 9-to-5 job even though NCAA rules limit the amount of time players are allowed to be on the court or in the film room watching video tape. And that doesn’t include the time players spend attending classes and studying for exams.

“It’s kind of like a job and you have to treat it as such,” he said. “When you are on the court doing your job it’s all business and then outside the court, just do what makes you happy.”

Jones has some sage advice for all those newcomers that have joined the Mountaineer program this summer, especially come February after the 20th game or so when those freshmen players seem to hit the wall: Take an ice bath or three.

“They are going to learn that after practice they are going to need to take ice baths and they will see those ice bags on my knees – it’s not because my knees are hurt – it’s just for precautionary reasons,” he said. “Just try and stay as fresh as I can because in three years here, I do have a lot of wear and tear on my body.”

In those three seasons playing for the Mountaineers, Jones has already appeared in 106 career games – 12 short of Russel Todd for 25th place in school history with 118. If West Virginia can play 41 games this season, and Jones can remain healthy enough to play in all of them, he will break Da’Sean Butler’s school record for career games played with 146.

And if that happens, Jones will probably be sleeping with ice bags on his knees this winter.