Huggins welcomes back WVU alums for camp

Since 2008, the Bob Huggins Fantasy Camp has given fans the chance to live out their dreams of getting to play in the Coliseum with the Mountaineers.

And as the camp started on Friday, Huggins welcomed in another group of campers as well as a handful of former WVU players back to Morgantown for the camp.

"It's great. We've got so many guys that come every year and it's their opportunity to come back and bond with the University," Huggins said Friday. "It's been a really good deal for us to bring guys back."

One of those former basketball players who made his first trip in for the camp is Dale Blaney. The former Mountaineer guard and WVU Sports Hall of Famer averaged 12.3 points per game during his West Virginia career before getting into the family business and becoming a racecar driver. In the past, scheduling had kept Blaney from getting to return to West Virginia to help out at the camp, but he jumped at the opportunity when it presented itself this year so he could get the chance to go back to Morgantown.

"I'm always in Michigan or Ohio during this time of the year," Blaney said. "But it's fun to get to be around these guys and be a part of West Virginia University again.

"So much has changed. This is such a great facility and it gives these kids here such a good opportunity to improve their game and improve their life. I was fortunate to get to be around a lot of great people (when I played), but to have these things they have now definitely would have been pretty neat."

Also back again were a few players who played on Huggins' 2010 Final Four team at West Virginia, including John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla and Devin Ebanks.

For the newer crop of West Virginia alumni, the return trips to Morgantown are able to come a little more often as they get the chance to use the Mountaineers' new state-of-the-art practice facility to work on their game, lift weights and receive treatment from WVU athletic trainers during their offseasons.

"Everyone feels really welcome to come back. They come here all the time to lift with Andy (Kettler) and get treated by Doc (Randy) Meador and have a great place to work out," Huggins said. "It's kind of neat to have a place where I can look out my window of my office and see John (Flowers) down there, see Da'Sean (Butler) and Alex (Ruoff) and Devin Ebanks down there. It's great for us, it's great for our guys to get to work with those guys and get to learn from them."

Mazzulla's playing days are over as he is now an assistant coach on Jerrod Calhoun's staff at Fairmont State University, and he always jumps at any opportunity to get the chance to come back to work more and give back at WVU after everything it gave him the chance to do as a player.

"It's a great opportunity. Being removed from WVU and Morgantown for about five or six years, you really start to develop that nostalgia and you realize what everything meant to you," Mazzulla said. "When this opportunity presented itself to give back to Coach Huggs and the people, it really meant a lot to me."

The camp got underway Friday and will continue the rest of the weekend through Sunday.


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