Posted by: mseewv | March 14, 2010

God Bless Those ‘Eers!

There is nothing like being a West Virginian on gameday. 

Last night Katie and I watched the game, just the two of us, on our couch at home. And after Da’Sean layed in the final shot to put the Hoyas away; I lept from the couch, ripped my shirt off and danced around the living room! Finally we had won the Big East Tournament.  

So I have sat here trying to figure out how to put all of my joyus emotion of our win onto paper but I just can’t bring it to justice. So, I will let the guys who won the game do that. Below are some of the best quotes from the night, straight from the players themselves. Also is a very interesting story from the Times West Virginian on Jarrod West and the awesome correlation from his shot 12 years ago and Da’Sean’s this past Thursday night!

Enjoy!

Q. Da’Sean, as if winning this thing wasn’t good enough, can you just talk about winning it here in New York City at Madison Square Garden. You’re from Newark, all the guys are from New York.

DA’SEAN BUTLER: It feels good. Our families are here and our friends are here. That’s good and everything. But we kind of wanted to win this for our state first, because the people there love us so much and they support us so much. And I definitely know it means the world to them. And then for our school and for us. We have a lot of people depending on us to

Q. Coach, two years ago you went to the Duke game, several players spoke about the lack of respect they were getting. Do you think the team gets the respect they deserve now?

COACH BOB HUGGINS: I don’t know. I was told, I don’t know but it was a pretty good source, Digger (Phelps) said if we won today, that the league wouldn’t be as good as what it is. Now how you can say something like that is beyond me. I like Digger. Digger and I are friends. But if this isn’t the best league in the country, then I just need to quit coaching, because I don’t know anything. And the gauntlet that you go through in this league, and the coaches that you coach against in this league, the players that they play against in this league night in and night out, and, you know, I said our non-league RPI was second. It was number two. I mean, I don’t know what else you have to do. But, you know, that being said, we don’t care. We know what we are. And we talked about that before the game. We know what we are. John F. Kennedy said when they asked him to run for vice president, because he was young, aristocratic and Catholic, he replied, “Why settle for second when first was available?” And that’s how we’re going to go about things. I mean, that’s what is in us. So, you

Q. Coach, you kind of stayed back and watched your team celebrate, and I know these guys obviously worked very hard. What kind of things were you thinking as you watched them celebrate winning the championship?

COACH BOB HUGGINS: I’ve never gotten involved in that, because I don’t think it’s about me; I think it’s about them. They’re the ones who come in and go through what they go through on a day-to-day basis. They’re the guys who have to go out and produce on the floor. All I do is stand over there. I can’t sit, so I stand. If I could sit I would probably sit, but I can’t. I just, you know, I want them to enjoy it and receive all the accolades that they deserve. And I think, you know, I think Da (Butler) said it, and I think this is what’s special about a group like this. They understand how much it means to the people in the state of West Virginia. And they understand how much it means to the students at our university, and that’s because they are part of it. They’ve done an unbelievable job of becoming part of the community. And it’s like the governor told them, you guys might have to help me with exactly what he said, but basically what he said, “You are all West Virginians and you’re always going to be.” And I think they appreciated that and they take that to heart.

Jarrod West relives shot through Butler

MORGANTOWN — Yesterday’s Hero was gathered in front of his television, just as so many of us were on that Thursday night, watching the final seconds tick off as West Virginia and Cincinnati were coming down the stretch, watching Today’s Hero do his thing.

Jarrod West felt like he’d been there before.

And he had.

“I felt kind of queasy,” West said as he thought back to the moment when Da’Sean Butler beat Cincinnati with a last-second field goal to avoid overtime and advance to the semifinals of the Big East Tournament.

West has trouble believing it was 12 years since that March 19 night in Utah.

He now has gone past age 30, is teaching and coaching in Clarksburg, has started his own family.

He has gone from Mountaineer idol to Mountaineer fan, just a face in the crowd when he goes to games with his child, a child who has over the past few years became a Da’Sean Butler fan.

“My son loves him to death,” West said.

But Jarrod West knows that before there was Da’Sean Butler there was Jarrod West walking in Butler’s sneakers.

If you are old enough, you cannot forget the moment, for it was one of the most intriguing in Mountaineer sports history.

WVU had a really good team under Gale Catlett, a team that at that moment was 24-8, a team with West and Brent Solheim and Damian Owens, a team that had advanced through the first round of the NCAA Tournament, beating John Chaney’s Temple team by 30 points.

But now you had Catlett against his old Cincinnati team, just as you had Bob Huggins facing his former Cincinnati team the other night, only that time Huggins was on the Cincinnati bench, a younger, even more brash coach with dreams of a title with a young star in Kenyon Martin.

As the final seconds ticked down, Cincinnati led by two points at 74-72 and Catlett had a play called, one where West had the ball.

It so many ways it was eerily similar circumstances and West knew it as he watched his TV.

“It was the same area of the court,” West said. “When he shot it, I knew it was going in.”

Let’s hit the rewind button of the mind for a moment and go back to that night in Boise, Utah, when Jarrod West became Yesterday’s Hero and compare it to what the night when Butler because Today’s Hero.

WVU was staring at defeat, no doubt, the clock in its final seconds.

“It was a different situation,” West noted. “Hit it or miss it, West Virginia would have played another game the other night. But we were in the NCAA Tournament. It was win or go home.”

West took the ball at the top of the key, a little deeper than Butler. He had a high screen, just as Butler had.

West saw Kenyon Martin trying to come at him.

“He got hooked on the screen, so I had a good shot,” West said.

But West was a little guy and Cincinnati, as Huggins has, possessed monsters, including Ruben Patterson, a tall, long-armed athlete who saw West and switched toward him.

Patterson leaped, his arm extended skyward.

“I had to shoot the ball a little higher than normal,” West recalled.

He didn’t know it at the time, but Patterson got just a fingertip on the ball, not enough to make it miss, but enough to alter the spin, maybe just enough to make it go in.

Like Butler’s, West’s ball banked off the backboard and went in.

What transpired next is hard to describe, both from those who have viewed it and having experienced it.

“It’s one of those feeling I wish everyone could experience,” West said.

There was a numbness, both of body and mind.

“You turn around and everyone is jumping on you. It was like you were dreaming,” he said.

Butler went through it just as West did, just as Mike Gansey has done and anyone else who has beaten the buzzer with a shot that turned a game around, a season around or made a hero of them.

Oddly, while Jarrod West and Da’Sean Butler are joined at the hip by their moment of greatness, they have not before really had much interaction, Butler being Today’s Hero and West a face out of Yesterday.

“I met him at Midnight Madness,” Jarrod West recalled, “but we do not really have a relationship. I do love his body of work, though.”

Jarrod West also had a chance to meet Bob Huggins, the man he had beaten all those many years ago.

“I was told he wasn’t happy when he met me,” Jarrod West said.

Just as it’s easy to remember heroic moments, it’s hard to forget when they come at your expense.

By Bob Hertzel For the Times West Virginian
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