By Cam Huffman
Many of West Virginia University’s greatest basketball stars — Jerry West, Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Leland Byrd and Kevin Pittsnogle, to name a few — have come from within the borders of the Mountain State.
Head coach Bob Huggins is hopeful he’s found another.
On Friday, Morgantown High School senior forward Nathan Adrian made a long commitment official when he signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Mountaineers.
Last season, the 6-foot-8, 205-pounder helped lead the Mohigans to an 18-7 record. He averaged 19.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, earning Class AAA first-team all-state honors. He made 32 3-point field goals, blocked 32 shots and made 51 percent of his attempts from the field.
“We obviously need more perimeter shooting,” said Huggins. “Nate not only brings the ability to make perimeter shots but will add much-needed size to our perimeter. It’s great to be able to sign quality players from our state.”
WVU also received a letter-of-intent from 6-9 forward Brandon Watkins Monday. The 225-pounder from Decatur, Ga., is a senior at Grady High. He averaged 19 points and 14 rebounds per game last year, earning All-Metro Atlanta second-team honors.
Watkins also has a connection to the Mountain State as the nephew of former Mountaineer star and White Sulphur Springs native Warren Baker.
“Brandon gives us much-needed size to our front court and give us a shot blocker, who has the ability to run the floor and enhance our transition game,” said Huggins. “Brandon also grew up a Mountaineer fan, and his uncle is one of the greatest Mountaineers of all time.”
WVU’s football team isn’t the only Mountaineer squad facing a national power this weekend.
The No. 2 WVU rifle team will make the long journey to E.F. Horton Rifle Range in Fairbanks, Alaska, to take on No. 4 Alaska-Fairbanks in back-to-back matches today and Sunday.
The two teams are the winningest rifle squads in NCAA history, combining for 24 titles. WVU (7-0) has won an NCAA-best 14, while Alaska-Fairbanks (2-1) has won 10.
The WVU volleyball team also has a major opportunity to make a statement today when it hits the road to Austin, Texas, to take on the No. 3 Texas Longhorns.
The Mountaineers (8-9) are still looking for their first Big 12 win.
Mike Carey’s women’s basketball team will be in action today, hosting USC Upstate at 1 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum. The No. 14 Mountaineers (2-0) are coming off a 60-57 win over Boston University on Monday. The Spartans (1-2) will be playing their fourth consecutive road game in the span of one week.
Senior Sarah-Anne Brault will compete in her fourth straight NCAA Cross Country Championships today in Louisville, Ky. Brault placed seventh last weekend at the NCAA Regionals.