When he first made a visit to West Virginia's campus to check out the school's basketball program, Cameron High School sophomore Logan Routt watched a practice and dreamed of one day becoming a Mountaineer. After that trip, though, communications between the Mountaineers and the Routt dwindled, leaving him to think that his college athletics fortunes would play out elsewhere. However, as is often the case in recruiting, ties were reformed, resulting in Routt's walk-on commitment to WVU for this coming year.
West Virginia was always a dream for me, but there was a long break where I didn't hear a lot from them," Routt told BlueGoldNews.com. "Then about four months ago the coaches got in contact with me and I went down for a visit, and two weeks ago I went on another one. I went again Tuesday, and decided that I would walk on."
In making that choice, the seven-foot post player passed up a scholarship offer from Division II Davis and Elkins as well as interest from a number of Division I schools who wanted him to go to prep school for a year to further his development. He noted that was a tough decision to make, but that choosing to go to WVU to pit himself against top-level competition was the best thing for him at this point.
While Routt hasn't faced elite competition at Cameron (a state Class A school), he has played against much better opposition in AAU play the past couple of seasons, as well as in informal competition against college players. He acknowledges the step up is a big one, but believes that matching himself against top players to improve and grow.
"I saw pretty quickly how much better the competition was, but I felt like I held my own at points," the 225-pounder said. "Playing against college players was definitely hard, but I enjoyed that challenge."
Always a volume scorer at Cameron, given his towering height advantage, Routt has worked hard to expand his offensive game. He averaged 20 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and nearly four assists per game, showing well-rounded skills, but hasn't rested on those numbers. He focused on his mid-range shooting over the past year, which made teams pay for dropping off him when he got the ball in the high post. He's working to extend that range further so he can be a threat out to the 3-point line, which would also help in today's ball-screen, pick-and-pop dominated offense. Despite his height, he is mobile and runs the floor well, and isn't rooted to one spot in offensive sets.
Routt also takes pride in his shot blocking ability, but understands that his defense will be predicated on gaining size and strength.
"The West Virginia coaches told me that was the important thing, to put on weight and get stronger," he confirmed. "The college players [like Devin Williams] are so strong. Playing against them is just totally different."
With his decision now made, Routt won't waste any time in getting to campus and beginning what will likely be a multi-year process. He's slated to graduate from Cameron on May 29, and plans to be at West Virginia on June 6 for summer workouts and classes.
"Two years ago, I was hoping and wishing that it could happen," he said of attending the state's flagship institution. "I can't wait for it to get started. When I met the team, I just loved it. It's such a team environment, and they were different in that they gave me advice and talked to me about things, like how to practice, how to approach the game and things like that. None of the other places I went to had players that did that."
Like most all walk-ons, Routt will face an uphill battle to earn playing time. However, he knows that head coach Bob Huggins plays no favorites, and that those who produce in practice or can fill a role on the court will get their chance to play. In-state walk-on success stories, such as those crafted by Ted Talkington, Chase Connor and others during Huggins' tenure attest to that.