This has been a year our little state has made a big mark on college basketball.
The Mountain State isn’t going to produce dozens of college hoops stars each year, but this year seems to represent a spike in production from homegrown basketball talent. Why, just yesterday (Tuesday) former George Washington High School basketball player Dequon Miller was named the Missouri Valley Conference Newcomer of the Year, and Miller also took home honorable mention all-conference honors for his performance during his first season of Division I basketball.
About 15 months ago I wrote a piece on Miller, which you can read here. It detailed Miller’s rise from a student who didn’t participate in sports his senior year in high school to a junior college standout at Motlow. He landed at Missouri State in the MVC, a solid program in one of Division I’s top mid-major leagues.
Miller, though, isn’t alone.
Also yesterday, former Ripley star Chase Fischer was named to the West Coast Conference all-conference first team. Fischer leads BYU in scoring (18.1 points per game), 3-pointers (93) and shoots 36.9 percent from long range. He ranks fifth in the league in scoring and 13th in the NCAA in 3-pointers made. The Gazette-Mail’s Rick Ryan told a wonderful story about Fischer’s rise through college basketball earlier this season, which you can read here.
Here are a few other former West Virginia hoops stars who are doing the state proud:
Noah Cottrill, Georgetown College — Yours truly wrote about Cottrill’s journey early in 2015, which you can read here. Cottrill is in his senior season and is averaging 18.0 points per game. That ranks 28th in NAIA. He is also shooting an incredible 51.6 percent from 3, which is second nationally, 88.0 percent from the free throw line, which is fifth nationally, and has made 81 3-pointers, which is 13th nationally.
Luke Eddy, Elon — The former George Washington star is averaging a healthy 10.5 points per game, which is second at Elon and 29th in the CAA. He’s also averaging 4.6 assists per game, which is third in the league.
Jon Elmore, Marshall — Also a GW product, Elmore has been on a tear since gaining eligibility. When only counting Conference USA games, Elmore ranks 10th in the league in points per game (16.8), second in assists (6.4) and 15th in 3-point percentage (41.6). The Herd started the season 0-6 and had a 2-6 record when Elmore became eligible, but Marshall is 13-8 with Elmore in the lineup and 11-5 in C-USA play heading into the final weekend of the regular season.
Nathan Adrian, West Virginia — The Morgantown native has now started 10 of 29 games this season, and his current 10-game stretch has been impressive. While Adrian averages 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds for the season, he is averaging 7.8 points and 4.3 rebounds in the last 10 games. In that same stretch, Adrian has connected on 14 of 22 3-pointers — 63.6 percent.
Donte Grantham, Clemson — The Martinsburg product is a key piece for the Tigers. He is averaging 10.2 points per game, which is second on the team, and averages 4.0 rebounds. He has also made 53 3-pointers at a 35.8-percent clip.
Also, don’t forget C.J. Burks, who has emerged as a crucial part of Marshall’s team. Burks is averaging 8.6 points in mostly a bench role.
As for next year, keep an eye on junior college star Jarin Hilson, a former Fairmont Senior star who is averaging 12.0 points per game. He’ll be at a Division I school next season.
Any others? Fire away in the comments.