Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

New York and WVU, Dakich and Devin Williams

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

New York and WVU, Dakich and Devin Williams

Article excerpt

BROOKLYN, N.Y. - WVU and its fans should feel good about the Mountaineers playing this round of the NCAA Tournament around the Big Apple of New York City. The area certainly has been sweet to the West Virginia basketball program.

Yes, WVU took some blows to the chin in the old Big East tournaments. But the school also forged some memories, especially at Madison Square Garden.

There was the 2010 Big East championship, led by Da'Sean Butler, who hit a last-second shot against Georgetown. There was WVU's 2005 run in that league's tournament propelled by Kevin Pittsnogle.

If one wishes to extend upstate to Syracuse, that's where the Mountaineers upset No. 1 NCAA seed Kentucky in 2010. New York hosted the 2007 NIT, which WVU won by beating Clemson.

And don't forget, coach Dyke Raese led WVU to its first national title in New York in 1942. Back then the NIT was the prominent tournament.

Also, West Virginia's basketball program has landed some of its premier players from the New York area. Bob Huggins went fishing in the junior college ranks for Teyvon Myers, Jaysean Paige and Tarik Phillips, but the former and latter are from Brooklyn and Paige is from Jamestown.

From Huggins' past teams, Kevin Jones and Jabarie Hinds were from Mount Vernon, Butler and Dominique Rutledge were from Newark, New Jersey, Devin Ebanks (who transferred to WVU) was from Long Island, Danny Jennings was from Staten Island, Wellington Smith was from Summit, New Jersey, and Daryl "Truck Bryant was from Brooklyn.

Now, since joining the Big 12, WVU has been recruiting New York less and less. But the Mountaineer staff hasn't completely stopped.

"There are plenty of recruits there, said WVU assistant Ronnie Everhart. "We're recruiting some sophomores and juniors.

But it's tougher.

"At the end of the day, Eastern [coaches] kill us about playing hundreds of miles away, Huggins said. "But we're still going to recruit New York. Kids still want to leave and come [to WVU].

"No. 1, all our flights are chartered, Everhart said. "No. 2, we're on TV every time we go away. It's not like we're playing on channels no one gets.

"The Big 12 has been really good for us. …

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