WVU Sports with Mike Casazza

Izzo-Brown makes a big comparison

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Nikki Izzo-Brown at the Girl Scouts Building Futures breakfast


WVU women’s soccer coach Nikki Izzo-Brown was in Charleston on Tuesday to talk to the Girls Scouts of Black Diamond Council’s Building Futures breakfast. She talked not only about her team’s memorable run to the nation’s No. 1 ranking and the NCAA championship game, but the future as well. One name was important in talking about both — Kadeisha Buchanan. Buchanan was instrumental in WVU’s run and will be a big gap to fill now that she has graduated.

To describe Buchanan’s impact on the women’s soccer program, she compared it to the impact of another legendary Mountaineer — Jerry West.

Izzo-Brown understood that some might consider that a bold statement. But Buchanan won the MAC Hermann Trophy, the college soccer equivalent of the Heisman, which was among several national player of the year awards she picked up. Buchanan also was a 2016 Olympic bronze medalist with the Canadian national team.

So what do you guys think, is Buchanan to WVU women’s soccer what West is to men’s hoops?

Jevon Carter throws his hat in the NBA ring

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AP photo — Jevon Carter will test the NBA Draft waters.


Hi everyone,

Special guest blog poster Derek Redd here. With Mike on a well-deserved vacation, I’ll be popping up here and there when news happens. And, sure enough, it happened Monday.

WVU announced that Jevon Carter will enter his name into the NBA Draft, but not hire an agent. The second part, as you know, is the important part. Here’s why:

A rule recently put in place allows underclassmen the flexibility to determine how they might fare in the draft based on evaluations and then return to college as long as they don’t sign with an agent. … Many players across the country have decided to exercise the rule, implemented in 2016, which allows players to go through the process and return to school 10 days after the NBA Combine, which is being held on May 14.
So if Carter doesn’t like what he hears, he can head back to WVU, no harm, no foul. It really makes the process a win-win for Carter and WVU. He gets an idea where he sits among draftees, and WVU can welcome him back if he decides to return. Obviously, WVU would love to have the reigning NABC Defensive Player of the Year back in the fold.

Friday Feedback

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Welcome to a getaway day edition of the Friday Feedback. I had my feet on the ground for a few weeks, and there was a second there when I feared they’d sprout roots, but like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. I’m gone for the next 10 days … and part of the journey takes me to the Sunshine State, which I hear is gorgeous — gorgeous! My noble wife and her noble friends are being honored for the work they do raising money to help folks cope with and combat cancer. Their group is under the umbrella of Stupid Cancer, but together they “make it all suck a little less.” There’s a gala. I’m a plus-one!

That said, we’re minus-one here for a while, but I’m hoping the space remains lively. I’ll flip the ball to the bullpen on the way out the door, and they’ll get us through to the next round. There’s plenty happening — baseball games, football recruiting, the Big 12 golf championship, the NFL draft, the Penn Relays, Will Grier queries — and all I ask is for you to be civil with one another. With everyone else? Nah.

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, take your time.

Sid Brockman said:

Pretty sure if Grier doesn’t throw one over Ruby off his back foot we’ll riot.

Just kidding…excited to see him though. The Durante/White/Simms battle for the two outside WR spots is intriguing to me. Hope Jennings and Sills settle in inside as well. On the D side I want to see free safety depth behind Dravon as well.

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Ooh, a warning!

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Quarterback Will Grier


Let’s grab that bridle and back Mr. Ed up behind this here rickety cart. West Virginia is simply waiting on en emoji text from the NCAA to know for sure and then announce that Will Grier is eligible for the start of the 2017 season, and then our columnist says the countdown begins!

Yet one little warning: West Virginia fans should also mentally prepare themselves for the possibility Grier is a one-and-done QB in Morgantown.

The redshirt junior Florida transfer was a rising star in the SEC before his suspension from the NCAA. He was a four-star recruit that had very good numbers as a redshirt freshman and helped the Gators to a 6-0 start, including a nice rally against Tennessee.

These days, Florida coach Jim McElwain is having to explain why he allowed Grier to depart. Serious media “spin” is underway in Gainesville. But, in sum, the kid is talented. He’s playing a position the NFL seriously covets. Oh, and his Twitter account proudly displays his newborn child.

 You understand what I’m saying.




The fact that we won’t see this guy doing that in 2017 is significant for reasons outside of how a game unfurls and the capacities West Virginia coach has for timeouts, fourth-down decisions and overall management. Dana Holgorsen’s free time … and a new team hotel? … might also help recruiting.

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WVU eyes on the defensive line

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Kentucky defensive lineman Tyrese Allen committed to West Virginia’s 2018 recruiting class Tuesday. He’s the second player to pledge to the class. The other is also a defensive lineman, and the Mountaineers, of course, have circled Fairmont’s Dante Stills as another player they’d like to have. His brother is a 2017 signee, and their father is all-timer Gary Stills.

This is quite obviously a focus for WVU, and Allen’s addition helps.

Allen stands at 6-foot-3 and 290 pounds, but has the athleticism to play on the edge of the defensive line, too. The coaches see him as a three-technique, similarly to how they used Christian Brown in the last couple of seasons. However, he could line up at any of the spots along the defensive front. Regardless of where he ends up, 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong feels the Mountaineers got a good one.

“His relentlessness and his power make him a guy that will be a productive player at the point of attack,” said Wiltfong. “He’s a good player against the run and he’s got some athleticism to him. He’s an old-school, back alley, tough and physical kid. He’s a high-motor football player.”

WVU will continue recruiting the position, and not exclusively for 2018.

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No. 21 WVU 8, Marshall 4

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Never needed a title like that for a baseball game, but West Virginia’s first game (ever, in the most legitimate polls) as a ranked team was a success. Marshall hasn’t beaten the Mountaineers the past few years, but Marshall has given the Mountaineers periodic problems. This one — in a pro park in Charleston, no less — was set up for trouble, but WVU navigated and won.

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Spoiler alert: Yes!

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Today’s the day the NCAA establishes future NCAA championship sites, and the organizers were careful to include West Virginia in their plans.

The rifle team, at long last, will play host to the 2019 national championship. That is most certainly not a spectator sport, but I’m willing to believe and possibly even bet that will change in two years, if only for a day. Gymnastics, definitely a spectator sport, will play host to a regional for the 11th time. If you’ve never gone and if you’re around when it’s in town, I recommend giving it a chance. Try not to forget between now and 2021.

Good news, bad news

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West Virginia’s most experienced offensive lineman had a solid spring, at a new position, no less, as the two-year starter at right guard moved to the left without much fanfare or frustration. There was a scare Saturday, though, when a play swallowed him up and he was helped off the turf while favoring his left knee.

Now we learn, in the most generic phrasing possible, that he’s going to be all right, and sooner rather than later.

That’s the bad news. The title, though …

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