Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The Great West Virginia Hope

Morgantown, West Virginia - Junior Isaac McKneely, the 6'4 guard from Poca, West Virginia, is skyrocketing up the high school basketball recruit rankings.  McKneely, a four star prospect, is currently the 50th ranked overall player and 9th ranked shooting guard in the 2022 class. Although he has offers from Indiana, Virginia, NC State, Ohio State, Illinois, Louisville, Marshall, Maryland, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, among many others, it's believed that he will ultimately stay home and end up playing for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Make no mistake about it, it’s imperative for Bob Huggins to convince Isaac McKneely to stay home and come play for the West Virginia Mountaineers.  Although Huggins doesn’t value keeping in-state talent in West Virginia like Neal Brown does, this is a player that Huggins just can’t miss on. West Virginia doesn’t often have players like this come along and it’s incredibly important for future recruiting to keep the best home.  McKneely has visited Morgantown and called his experience “amazing.”  He’s built a relationship with Bob Huggins and many of the West Virginia players, and although he will be promised the world by all of the top coaches and basketball programs around the country, there's simply nothing better than playing for your home state. Christian Kezmarsky of Basketball Player Development on Wildcat Select said of McKneely: “Knock down shooter, high level bounce, great decision maker.  Multiple offers already and interest through the roof.  #1 ranked player in the state of West Virginia.” According to Kezmarksy, McKneely "works harder than probably any kid I know. I feel like a lot of kids talk about how many shots they get up a day but Isaac is in there working every single day. He’s really taking his body serious right now and working hard to add size and muscle.  He’s going to be scary good for whatever program gets him. You can count on him to continue doing everything in his power to get better day by day. He’s one of the most offensively gifted high school kids I’ve seen in a long time." Isaac McKneely is the type of in-state prospect that doesn't come along very often and he is a player that Bob Huggins must keep home.  Although he is only a junior and has a long road ahead of him, hopefully that road leads up I-79 to his new home in Morgantown. Highlights: https://twitter.com/SLAM_HS/status/1297879930244562946?s=20 https://twitter.com/IsaacMcKneely/status/1299041675101302784?s=20  

Miles McBride is now the Main Man in Morgantown

Morgantown, West Virginia - According to Bob Huggins' most recent press conference, Miles "Deuce" McBride has gone to another level in the offseason.  "I think Deuce is improved tremendously.  He's really studied being a point guard and being able to get other people involved.  At the same time, he's a guy that's probably our best guy at creating his own shot when needed." In addition, Huggins said that professional scouts are very interested in McBride as a potential NBA player.  In fact, McBride has shockingly received more interest from professional scouts than sensational sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who is considered a possible 1st round pick if he decides to enter the NBA Draft after this season with the Mountaineers. "From the calls and interest from people at the next level", Huggins said, "he's the first name out of their mouths.  That may surprise some of you." McBride is a seasoned, experienced veteran in the body of a 19 year old young man. Although McBride was just a freshman point guard for the Mountaineers last season, he was also the most consistent, reliable, steady player for Bob Huggins. According to CBS Basketball Analyst Jon Rothstein, McBride is now West Virginia’s top overall player.  Rothstein posted the following on social media: “Well embedded moles in Morgantown believe that Miles McBride has emerged in the offseason as West Virginia’s top overall player.  Could alter Mountaineers’ ceiling in 2020-2021. ESPN College Basketball Analyst Fran Fraschilla agreed with Rothstein, adding, “Everybody is going to be paying attention to him now.” Miles McBride is the ultimate Bob Huggins’ player and the exact leader needed to lead Huggins to his first ever national championship.  He’s an exceptional offensive and defensive player, he leads by example, and although he flew under the radar a bit last season, he will now be the undisputed leader and go-to player for West Virginia in the upcoming year. West Virginia fans should appreciate McBride while he's here in Morgantown...because he very well could be headed to the NBA a lot sooner than expected.

BREAKING: 2021 NCAA Tournament Likely to Be Held in a Bubble

https://twitter.com/GoodmanHoops/status/1328375351240757249?s=20   According to Jeff Goodman, a Basketball Analyst for Stadium, the NCAA is officially moving towards having a bubble for the 2021 NCAA Tournament.   Per an announcement from the NCAA, talks are currently under way with the state of Indiana for the bubble to take place in Indianapolis - the site of the 2021 Final Four. Originally, the plan was to have thirteen different sites where tournament games would take place. However, the committee who oversees the tournament determined that is not feasible during the COVID-19 pandemic.   Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates.

Dan Dakich is AWFUL

Morgantown, West Virginia - ESPN commentator Dan Dakich was once the Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers...for 8 days. When Dakich took the position in 2012, former 5 star recruit Jonathan Hargett allegedly approached his new coach and said he was owed $20,000 from West Virginia University.  Dakich took this information to West Virginia University's President at the time David Hardesty. Hardesty, according to Dakich, claimed that Hardesty said, "If you go any farther with this, we’ll destroy you.”  Dakich claimed during today's West Virginia VCU game that the WVU President "came for him, which Hardesty vehemently denies. Dakich decided to leave the team after 8 days on the job and go back to his old team, Bowling Green.  This, of course, led to the hiring of John Beilein. Dakich leaving was one of the best things that ever happened to West Virginia University sports.  Now, as an analyst and commentator for ESPN, Dakich takes every opportunity that he has to bash and take shots at West Virginia. Not only is Dakich clearly still bitter and angry towards West Virginia, his announcing style is that of an angry old uncle spouting nonsense from his couch.  Dakich's record as a coach is 159-144 overall with only 1 NCAA Tournament appearance in twelve seasons.

West Virginia Starting Lineup

The West Virginia Mountaineers just released their starting five for today’s game at Georgetown. The lineup remains the same as it has been through the first four games with Miles McBride at point guard, Sean McNeil at shooting guard, Emmitt Matthews Jr. at small forward, Oscar Tshiebwe at power forward and Derek Culver at center. The game begins at 4:30 and will televised on FS1. https://twitter.com/wvuhoops/status/1335688620297084931?s=21

Jevon Carter Has Outstanding Performance in Suns Preseason Finale

Phoenix, Arizona - The Phoenix Suns dropped another close game to the world champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-113, in their preseason finale.  The Suns completed the preseason 0-4, but former West Virginia guard Jevon Carter shined  in the four games. Carter put together a complete performance last night, finishing the game with 12 points on 5-10 from the field and 2-5 from three point range.  Carter also added 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 4 steals in 36 minutes. In addition, Carter had several outstanding defensive plays and made a steal against the best player in the world, LeBron James, and finished for an easy layup on the other end of the floor.  Check out the incredible play below: https://twitter.com/AndrewUnderwood/status/1340165507991801857?s=20 The Suns open the regular season on Wednesday, December 23rd at 10:30 against the Dallas Mavericks.  Carter will be expected to play big minutes this season as the backup to veteran starter Chris Paul.

The Mountaineers Found Their Identity

Morgantown, West Virginia - Down 19 points early in the second half at Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers stormed back with tough, gritty defense that changed the entire complexion of the game. With Isaiah Cottrell injured for the season and Oscar Tshiebwe gone, West Virginia is no longer the dominant inside team that they were to start the year. Now, the Mountaineers must embrace an identity of junkyard dogs and pesky defensive players that outwork their opponents. Following the game, junior forward Derek Culver - who finished with 21 points and 19 rebounds - said, "I'll go to war for those guys in that locker room and I know they'll do the same for me." This a close-knit team that wants to win basketball games and prove that they are still among the best teams in the nation, even after losing two of their most talented front court players. Junior transfer Kedrian Johnson exemplifies the spirit that can lead West Virginia far this season.  He's tough, pesky and doesn't take a play off.  Johnson's 9 points (2-3 FG, 1-2 3PT), 5 assists and 3 rebounds were really the difference in a game that the Mountaineers desperately needed to win. Whereas West Virginia was able to simply dump it down to Culver or Tshiebwe for easy scores at the beginning of the season, this group of Mountaineers will have to out-hustle and out-work their opponents. Like their comeback win against Oklahoma State last night, most wins for the Mountaineers won't be pretty, and they shouldn't be.  West Virginia should win ugly, hard-fought, chaotic games like they've won in the past during the Press Virginia era. The West Virginia Mountaineers are not going to be the same team that we thought they were going to be at the beginning of the season, but this version - the version that scrapes and claws and fights to win games - is just as capable of a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

WVU Announces Starting Lineup Versus Texas Tech

(Photo by WVU Athletics)  The starting lineup for WVU’s matchup against Texas Tech tonight was revealed just minutes ago. The lineup is as follows: Deuce McBride Jordan McCabe Taz Sherman Derek Culver Jalen Bridges https://twitter.com/wvuhoops/status/1353879816806666240?s=21  

West Virginia Knocks Off the Jayhawks in Morgantown

(Photo by WVU Athletics)    In front of a nationally televised CBS audience, West Virginia was able to defeat the 23rd-ranked Kansas Jayhawks in Morgantown, 91-79. Miles McBride, who has become a consistent force for the Mountaineers, finished with a career-high 29 points. He would also add 8 assists and 7 rebounds. https://twitter.com/wvuhoops/status/1358154155471245312?s=21   Taz Sherman would also put in a solid shooting day for the Mountaineers, adding 25 points, including hitting 4-for-7 from behind the arc. After leading by double digits at halftime, 44-34, the Mountaineers allowed the Jayhawks to tie it up, 47-47, in the opening minutes of the second half. However, they would close the game strong, and put the game away within the final five minutes. https://twitter.com/wvuhoops/status/1358157564198801408?s=21   West Virginia will have a couple of days off before traveling to Texas Tech on Tuesday. The game tips-off at 9 p.m.

Dan Dakich Claims He Would Have Won 2 National Championships at WVU

Morgantown, West Virginia - Dan Dakich, former college basketball head coach turned analyst for ESPN, commented on Duke's Jalen Johnson opting out for the remainder of the season, saying, "In what other industry would we praise someone for walking out on their partner, teammates and co workers at the most important time of the year in their industry?" Ironically, Dakich was once the Head Coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers...for 8 days. When West Virginia fans pointed this out, Dakich replied by saying, "19 years later and ya'll are still whining.  Sorry if I hurt you but give it up it's been 19 years.  I've moved on to a great life and hope you can do the same." https://twitter.com/dandakich/status/1361793326220013568?s=20 Dakich seemingly went on to claim that he would have won two national championships at West Virginia University if he decided to stay and called WVU a "nice lil program": "Cost ya 2 NCAA Titles...nice lil program though." https://twitter.com/dandakich/status/1361691160285241348?s=20 When Dakich took the position in 2012, former 5 star recruit Jonathan Hargett allegedly approached his new coach and said he was owed $20,000 from West Virginia University.  Dakich took this information to West Virginia University's President at the time David Hardesty. Hardesty, according to Dakich, claimed that Hardesty said, "If you go any farther with this, we’ll destroy you.”  Dakich claimed during today's West Virginia VCU game that the WVU President "came for him, which Hardesty vehemently denies. Dakich decided to leave the team after 8 days on the job and go back to his old team, Bowling Green.  This, of course, led to the hiring of John Beilein. Dakich leaving was one of the best things that ever happened to West Virginia University sports.  Now, as an analyst and commentator for ESPN, Dakich takes every opportunity that he has to bash and take shots at West Virginia.

WVU Should Allow a Packed Student Section for Baylor Game

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers will play arguably their biggest, most important game of the season tomorrow night against the one-loss Baylor Bears. This game will likely be a matchup of two top five or six teams in the country, and it has far-reaching implications for the NCAA Tournament. While West Virginia University will allow 2,800 fans into the Coliseum for the game, that amount of spectators will unfortunately not have much of an impact on the game. And the Mountaineers will almost certainly need a real home-court advantage in order to beat one of the very best teams in the entire country. The NCAA COVID guidelines do not make any sense.  In fact, they're idiotic.  Why are players sitting six feet part on the sidelines, yet rubbing up against each other during games? It's all dramatization and fake. It's a big spectacle to make people feel safe. Why are college students able to pack into small classrooms (have you seen the classrooms in Woodburn Hall?), yet not be able to fill up the student section of the Coliseum? The West Virginia Mountaineers will need fan support tomorrow evening, and it doesn't make any sense why the student section can't be filled from courtside all the way to the tip-top of the Coliseum! WVU, Gordon Gee, Shane Lyons, make the right decision and open the doors for the students!  Cheering on the Mountaineers is no different or any less safe than sitting in a classroom. Make the right decision.

BREAKING: Derek Culver Makes All-Big 12 First Team

(Photo by WVU Athletics)   Moments ago, the First Team All-Big 12 roster for the season was announced, and WVU’s Derek Culver made the list.   Culver has had a tremendous junior season, becoming one of the most dominant players in the conference. He finished the regular season averaging 14.8 points per game and 9.8 rebounds. https://twitter.com/big12conference/status/1369045008100204546?s=21

Gabe Osabuohien Says He Isn’t Losing in the NCAA Tournament

Morgantown, West Virginia - Senior forward Gabe Osabuohien made a very bold statement about the West Virginia Mountaineers' chances in the NCAA Tournament. Osabuohien said on his personal Instagram account, "I ain't losing (a game) in the tournament." Osabuohien, who averaged 1.7 points and 4.3 rebounds per game during the regular season, is one of the best defenders in the Big 12 Conference. As a senior, Osabuohien could return to the Mountaineers for one more season next year, or he could decide to leave following this season.  If he decides to leave, the next loss for the Mountaineers could be his final game. The Mountaineers, a 3 seed, open then NCAA Tournament on Friday night at 9:50PM in Indianapolis against 14 seed Morehead State.  If West Virginia wins, they will advance to play the winner of the San Diego State/Syracuse game in the 2nd round. According to Gabe Osabuohien, the Mountaineers have six games remaining this season with the final game being the National Championship!

Jordan McCabe Made the Right Decision

Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia fans may have forgotten but... Jordan McCabe is a virtuoso, a flashy on-court maestro with the basketball, who needs freedom to make mistakes to perform to the best of his abilities. Bob Huggins is an old-school, gritty, tough coach that doesn’t like or appreciate flashiness or dazzling playmakers.  He’d rather a player make the easy, sure pass than the no-look or behind the back one. This is where the conflict between Jordan McCabe and Bob Huggins started.  McCabe needed freedom and Bob Huggins does not want his players to have freedom to make mistakes on the court. With this said, Huggins knew what he was getting with McCabe when he recruited him out of high school four years ago.  McCabe traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters and performed halftime dribbling exhibitions.  High school footage of McCabe shows that he liked to dribble…a lot, and he liked to make fancy passes. McCabe did what he could to adjust to Huggins’ style.  He was the first player in the gym and the last to leave.  He calmed down on the showmanship on the court and ran Huggins’ offense.  However, McCabe’s lack of size, athleticism and speed made him ineffective if he was unable to use his natural ability to dribble and make difficult passes. Again, this is what the problem was with Jordan McCabe at West Virginia University.  He was a square peg in a round hole.  Either Bob Huggins needed to let Jordan McCabe be Jordan McCabe, or Jordan McCabe was never going to be the truly productive college basketball player that he is capable of being. After showing real promise in his freshman season, McCabe's production and confidence diminished.  As a junior this past season, he averaged 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 31% from the field. This is not how it was supposed to go for Jordan McCabe.  He was the leader and the future of the team at one point. At the end of McCabe’s freshman season, a severely-depleted WVU team went 2-2 to close out the season and 2-1 in the Big 12 Tournament, beating Iowa State, Oklahoma and eventual National Championship-bound Texas Tech along the way.  McCabe averaged 13.5 points, 5 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 35% from three point range during the last 10 games.  This is what McCabe is capable of when given the freedom to be himself. Jordan McCabe has worked really, really hard his entire life to become an outstanding basketball player.  With no prospects of playing professionally after graduation, he has two years left of eligibility to play competitively. He had a very difficult decision.  Did he want to spend the final two years of his basketball career perpetually in Bob Huggins’ dog house while playing limited minutes behind Miles McBride, or did he want to go elsewhere to have some freedom to be the leader on the court that he knows he can be? Jordan McCabe made the right decision.  As much as we all wanted him to remain in Morgantown and as much as he wanted to be a Mountaineer for life, this unfortunately just wasn't the right fit for him.

Best Virginia Has a New Head Coach

Morgantown, West Virginia - The Final Fourcast announced moments ago that former West Virginia player and current coach at WVU Tech, James Long, has been named as the new head coach of the TBT team Best Virginia.   Long, a former member of Bob Huggins' coaching staff at West Virginia, graduated from WVU and played for the Mountaineers from 2014-2017.  Long was a member of the Academic All Big 12 Basketball First Team while he was a player. Long is now the head coach of the WVU Tech Golden Bears.  The Golden Bears finished 13-7 this past season. Congratulations, Coach Long! https://twitter.com/finalfourcast/status/1380200390172495878?s=20