Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

McCutcheon's Move Reveals Bigger Issue

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

McCutcheon's Move Reveals Bigger Issue

Article excerpt

I received a message from Taryn McCutcheon just after 11 p.m. last Saturday night, telling me she was moving to Michigan. I talked again to the Ostrowski Award winner and Michigan State signee the next day, as she explained that she did not want news of the move to be blown out of proportion. It was an unassuming hope of someone who doesn't make nearly as big of a deal about herself as others - myself included - do.

The resulting storm of coverage that descended on her last Monday morning was to be expected. While some debated the importance of McCutcheon's move to the Class AAA state championship hunt, there is no doubt that McCutcheon's leaving West Virginia did two things.

First, it provided another example of how West Virginia communities struggle to cope with the success of their peers. We tend to eat our own. McCutcheon had plenty of naysayers in Parkersburg and throughout the state. Some were sportswriters, some were girls basketball fans, some were just people looking for a conventional opinion to disagree with so they appeared to be more knowledgeable than others.

Haters, I believe they're called.

"She's too small, was one common critique. "Who is she going to defend in the Big Ten?, was another. There were others. They don't warrant being listed. A group of sportswriters that included myself sat on press row during the Class AAA title game last March and listened to a Parkersburg South parent berate McCutcheon - and threaten to punch a writer - through the course of the Patriots' loss to Morgantown until a Charleston police officer intervened.

Does this sound familiar? If you've been following prep sports, it should. It's reminiscent of 2012, when a year after winning the Kennedy Award as a junior, George Washington's Ryan Switzer committed to North Carolina, then endured criticism after criticism about his size, his confident attitude and seemingly everything else before winning the Kennedy a second time.

Switzer was recently named as an All-American for the second time in his college career, incidentally. He's not doing too poorly with that small body and confident attitude that, like McCutcheon's, is a lot more humble than people who don't know them would like to believe. …

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