All the talk about Jordan Heath being the new USF Basketball Human Victory Cigar got me thinking. Who was the ultimate Human Victory Cigar? Well, if you're asking me, the answer has to be Kenyatta Jones.
Wait a minute, you're saying. Kenyatta Jones was a football player. He was an offensive lineman. He was the first USF player ever drafted and he was the first Bull to win a Super Bowl ring. How can he be the patron saint of anything related to USF basketball?
Ah, well you weren't around for the 1998-99 basketball season. It was my sophomore year at USF, and sitting at the end of Seth Greenberg's bench was one Kenyatta Jones, wearing #44 and weighing in somewhere north of 300 pounds. It was fantastic. Even though he was only 6'4", Jones really put the "power" in power forward. He could have killed someone with a pick. Unfortunately, he wasn't quite good enough at basketball to be our version of Julius Peppers, and he only saw action in a handful of games.
But any time the Bulls had a safe lead at the Sun Dome and the clock was winding down, you could count on the same husky voice to rise up from among the students in Section D.
"SEND IN KENYATTA!"
Jones was sent into the end of three games. He took two shots and missed them both (to everyone's great chagrin), but he did collect two rebounds and issue an assist(!). I guess you had to be there. The idea of this stocky, slightly unathletic man running up and down the court in a basketball uniform, and guarding guys who were five inches taller and 70 pounds lighter than him, was incredibly funny. You really wanted him to succeed - it was sort of like Holly Anderson's love for FAT GUY TOUCHDOWNS on the Dr. Saturday blog. If Kenyatta actually scored a point, it would have definitely been the highlight of the season.
Things haven't gone so well for Kenyatta after he earned his championship ring on the 2001 Patriots' practice squad. He suffered injuries to both his knees after starting 11 games in 2002, and then everything went downhill. He was arrested and then released from the Pats for throwing scalding hot water on his roommate while he was sitting on the toilet. Then in 2008 he was arrested twice - once for battery on a law enforcement officer, and for being caught purchasing small amounts of cocaine and marijuana from a drug dealer.
Most recently, Jones had a very short run with the New York Sentinels of the UFL. Maybe we haven't heard the last of him on the football field, but I'm pretty sure his basketball career is over In my mind, though, it will always live on.
(Update: Thanks to Greg A. for better information on Kenyatta's recent football career.)