A Look At WVU Alumni Basketball Game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - It was, by any measures, the most typical of all star-like games in that whatever West Virginia's inaugural alumni contest lacked in defense, it more than made up for with an arsenal of dunks, made threes and a furious comeback that fell just short as John Flowers' White team topped Da'Sean Butler's Blue 133-126 on Saturday night.

Perhaps the most impressive display of the night was by Wellington Smith in the first half and Truck Bryant in the second. Smith canned a series of deep threes that gave White a 20-point lead at the break despite a series of highlight-reel dunks by Devin Ebanks. One one, the former Los Angeles Laker threw the ball off the backboard before catching it himself and jamming it home. On another, he took an alley-oop pass with one hand and tomahawked a slam, shaking the bucket at Morgantown High's gym.

And while those displays, and some nifty ballhandling by the Blue team, were impressive to watch, the scoreboard flatly read that the White squad, largely via Smith and the floor vision and passing of Joe Mazzulla, had a sizable cushion at the break. The second half belonged to the Blue team, and it looked like they were primed for a comeback before a final defensive stop and resulting score ended Bryant's three-point barrage that rallied arguably a more talented Blue team to within three points before White pulled out the seven-point win.

Before we take a look at some video, below, here's a rundown of the players who were there, and the breakdown of teams as they were selected via their captains, and honorary captains in Herbie Brooks for the White team and Daryl Prue for Blue. First, the White gained the initial pick, and the two teams alternated, resulting in the complete selection listed below - and if they seem strange in terms of talent, it should be noted that Butler and Flowers tried to balance the teams.

Drew Schifino (W), Josh Yeager (B), Jamie Smalligan, Rob Summers, Tyrone Sally, Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant, Cyrus Jones, Brent Solheim, Brad McMillan, Ted Talkington, Joe Mazzulla, Lowes Moore, Wellington Smith, Chaz Briggs, Jonathan Curran and … somehow last, Jarrod West – though Flowers joked that was because he hit the shot against Bob Huggins' UC team that sent WVU to the Sweet 16 in 1998. The starters for White: Kevin Jones, Mazzulla, Smalligan, Flowers, Wellington Smith. Blue: Butler, Summers, Bryant, Yeager, Ebanks.

There were a couple early surprises, one being that Mazzulla scored the first points on a tip-in and the second that Curran came in and drilled two quick threes, swishing one and hitting an off-center banked three over Solheim. Briggs started hot from three, hitting his first two, before the game devolved into the typical up-and-down, no defense style that led to more than 125 combined points at the half, with White three-quarters of the way to 100. But behind Bryant, and the length of players like Jones and Ebanks combined with a big late three from Butler, the Blue rallied, making it a game over the final three minutes before White emerged, perhaps surprisingly but certainly fittingly so, as the winner under Flowers and head coach Billy Hahn.

Most players, including Juwan Staten - who showed just before tip off and was quickly named assistant coach to the Blue team - remained afterward to sign autographs. There was also an auctioned signed basketball, as well as raffle prizes to go with t-shirts available for purchase, as well as basic food items from the Morgantown High gym. And while the venue wasn't completely packed, the crowd was loud, and it was an event that warrants yet another go around next year.

Now, onto the video. First, a look at warm-ups inside Morgantown High’s gym, with notables like Devin Ebanks, Da’Sean Butler, Joe Mazzulla, Wellington Smith, Brent Solheim, Daryl Prue, Jarrod West, Herbie Brooks and more. Bob Huggins is also present, speaking with Ebanks and Smith prior to tip.


The intros, below, voiced by Tony Caridi. The majority of the 2010 Final Four team is shown standing together at the end.


And the most fitting, and heartfelt, portion of the evening, when WVU assistant to the head coach Billy Hahn took the floor to speak about his wife, Kathy, and her battle with cancer at Ruby Memorial Hospital’s cancer center, thanking Flowers for his efforts, and all those in attendance for their ticket purchase, a portion of which went to the Norma Mae Huggins foundation for cancer research.



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