West Virginia seniors Jones, Bryant win final game at home against DePaul
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 29, 2012 08:02
During their careers, they've combined for 3,311 points. They were part of West Virginia's first Final Four team since 1959, and this season, they became just the seventh duo in West Virginia history to score 500 points each.
Together, they make up the heart of one of the most successful senior classes in school history.
More than four years after winning their first game at the Coliseum 92-47 over Elon, WVU seniors Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant were able to cap their careers with a 92-75 victory over DePaul in the final regular season home game wearing their WVU uniforms.
"It was very emotional just knowing that this is your last time playing here with the people who supported you so much since you started as a freshman," Jones said. "I definitely didn't want to end it on a losing note. Last night I could hardly sleep I was so excited.
"Everything turned out the way I expected it to."
After struggling for the last nine games, Jones and Bryant both talked about how important it was to beat DePaul and South Florida to close out the season.
They knew they needed the win, but at the same time, it was still a special night for the two teammates.
Of course, the win did make it a little sweeter.
"You couldn't ask for nothing else. Even if I didn't play good, even if KJ didn't play good, the only thing we could ask for was a win," Bryant said.
"(After the game) we were just saying we love each other. That's like my brother. We've created a great relationship over the last four years. He's definitely like my best friend."
But it wasn't just a big night for the two seniors, Jones and Bryant – along with former Mountaineer Devin Ebanks, who left after his sophomore year – made up head coach Bob Huggins' first full
recruiting class at West Virginia.
"When you're around those guys for four years like we are and you go through as many things as you go through in a season, you're close and they become part of your family," Huggins said. "You hate to see them go.
"You have so many times together. You kind of look forward to the new guys at the same time, but you hate to see guys go."
When they leave the program, Jones and Bryant will have left an impact in more ways than just the stat sheet and by wins and losses.
With such a young Mountaineer team, they've shown the freshmen what it takes to be successful and just how special it can be to play at WVU.
"They came in with each other and have done so much for this program. It's remarkable the stamp they've put on this program," said freshman forward Keaton Miles. "The team just wanted to send them out the right way."
Even though Tuesday was what they hope to be the final time they play a game on the Coliseum floor, Jones realizes that there isn't time to sit back and reflect.
They're not done yet.
"My career's not over, hopefully it's not over for another month or so," Jones said.
"It comes in my mind every once in a while, but after the season's over, maybe that's the time when I can really sit back and reflect on what I've done my last four years here."