The Return of the Throwback Basketball Jersey

Although the West Virginia University Athletics Department is notoriously slow to deliver on fresh ideas for the football and basketball program, a simple, relatively-cheap idea was recently brought up by junior forward Emmitt Matthews, Jr.

Matthews, Jr. sent out a Tweet last night to West Virginia’s basketball Twitter account and West Virginia Athletic Director Shane Lyons, asking for throwback jerseys for the team for the upcoming season.

Lyons, of course, did not respond to the message, but he certainly should take note of what his players want.  Isaiah Cottrell, the four star incoming freshman forward, retweeted Matthews’ Tweet and replied with two hands praying, suggesting that he also would like to see West Virginia with throwback uniforms next season.

West Virginia University, like many schools across the nation, have had to furlough several positions at the university and this may not be the appropriate time to spend a lot of extra money on unnecessary unessentials, but this not something that would cost a lot to make happen and it would almost certainly lead to major merchandise sales.

Players and potential recruits care about jerseys.  Trendy, unique jerseys and uniforms often make the difference on which schools a recruit will ultimately choose.  Take Oregon, for example.  The Ducks’ football head coach Mark Helfrich said, “You look at the history of Oregon football, and we have a spirit of innovation.  It’s something we pride ourselves on that started in the early ’90s. Uniforms are how we got in the door at all. And now we’re able to compete a little bit differently nationally with recruits, and we can at least get in the door. But more and more, it just puts you in front of some different people.”

It’s all about innovation and being different.  West Virginia should embrace really old school designs, like West Virginia wore during Jerry West’s time with the school (1956-1960).  Check out the picture below.  Super tight-fit jerseys, insanely short shorts, long, striped socks and even the weird belt around the waist of the shorts.  Bring back this jersey and recruits and the entire nation will take notice.

West Virginia relies on Bob Huggins’ incredible recruiting skills/career success and outstanding practice facilities to entice potential recruits.  Now it’s time to take it to another level and do something truly revolutionary by going back in time.