WVU's Revival

Jonathan Kimble stood at the front of a student section ready to burst from its seams on Saturday. The musket – loaded.


The 2,000-plus WVU students who stayed despite Spring Break rushed the floor following the Mountaineers' 92-86 victory over No. 8 Kansas. Those students – as passionate about this team as they've been in years here – went straight for point guard Juwan Staten and crew.

That sound meant more than just the end of West Virginia's game against Kansas. Really, it meant much, much more.

Foam fingers held up high, the Mountaineers inside the Coliseum – and all around the world – celebrated the gigantic victory.

"This is the type of stuff I've only watched on T.V. before," said sophomore guard Eron Harris. "I never thought I would be a part of something like that. I was looking around and seeing everybody I knew and then everybody I didn't know … it was crazy. It was something I'll never forget."

For West Virginia, it was the first time it had beaten a top-10 opponent since Jan. 7, 2012. That's 791 days.

You didn't just watch a court storm on Saturday – or a victory over one of the most prestigious and successful programs in college basketball. You watched the revival of a proud program.

Remember this: On March 8, 2014, WVU basketball came back to life.

If you were wondering where the program that went to 2010 Final Four went, well, it was back inside the Coliseum on Saturday with a new group of players.

Sure, there's a good chance West Virginia will head to the NIT this year unless it can pull off some magic in the Big 12 Conference tournament. Sure, it's not a Final Four. Sure, Kansas was missing center Joel Embiid.

All that was secondary. It was West Virginia vs. Kansas - and on this day, West Virginia came out on top.

The Mountaineers have set themselves up for something epic a year from now.

WVU has shown so much potential this year, capped off by the win over KU. Take freshman forward Devin Williams for example. He finished the game with a career-high 22 points and added 13 rebounds. He's pulled down eight double-doubles this season. Potential oozes from him.

"I told Devin, if he plays that way, nobody can beat us," Harris said.

Junior point guard Juwan Staten has proven time and time again that he's one of the best point guards in the country. WVU head coach Bob Huggins called him that following the game. Kansas head coach Bill Self called Staten the best in the Big 12, as well. A year from now, I bet Self – and so many others around the U.S. – will be saying Staten is the Big 12 Player of the Year and maybe even a first-team all-American.

I won't forget to mention players like Terry Henderson or Harris or even Remi Dibo and Nathan Adrian. This team is nothing short of promising – and this year has proven many good things can come there way.

Oh, and the Mountaineers don't lose a player. in fact, they gain players where they are considered weak.

On Saturday, West Virginia celebrated - not about the potential for next year or anything like that.

It celebrated the here and now. The students I mentioned earlier put Staten on their shoulders. Staten held a No. 1 up high. They cheered about such an improbable victory on such a national stage.

"It was great from the first time I stepped out on the floor today until now. It's a great feeling. We knew it would be packed and that the fans would be supporting us," Staten said. "We have our full team back now, and after this win I'd say we are playing some of our best basketball right now. What better time to be doing that than now?"

If you learned anything about West Virginia's team on Saturday, learn that it's back. You better get those 2014-15 season tickets as quickly as you can.

You won't want to miss what's coming.

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