WVU Sports Communications

Inside West Virginia's Fantasy Basketball Camp

A high school athlete in his mid 30s did a little bit of preparation for his experience at West Virginia's Fantasy Basketball Camp, which was recently held at WVU's practice facility. What he found when he got there, though, was a bit more than he was expecting.

A former high school player, Matt (who wanted his last name withheld) had done some online research to see what might play out during his time on campus.

“I had gone online and watched some videos so I could learn about the competition level I might see, but when I arrived the people were even better than I thought they were going to be. They weren't all young – there were 50-year old guys there, – but also a lot of a younger crowd that was 30-40. They were all pretty good, and the competition was really good.”

There might be some lingering perceptions of fantasy camps being big money donors who just take a few jumpers and put more emphasis on the off-court activities than on, but that wasn't the way this one played out. Matt, who hadn't touched a ball “in four or five years”, said that the competitive nature of the camp was apparent from the outset.

“It was real competition. The coaches are working the refs, and we were all really trying to win the games. Everyone out there got into it.”

Such an approach, in addition to firing the competitive juices of all involved, served to make the contests very enjoyable. Clearly, everyone involved wanted to show well in front of some of the big names from Mountaineer hoop history as well as the current basketball staff. It wasn't all just games on the court, though. Participants had their own locker with their names and numbers on them, and got a personalized jersey for play. Soon after enjoying that, however, it was off to the court, where warmups and what amounted to a “WVU Combine” took place.

“We went out and scrimmaged, and all of the coaches watched us to figure out what we could do and who they wanted,” Matt related. “Getting the rust off was big for me, because I hadn't played in a while. After those scrimmages, we went out for dinner, where the coaches had their draft.<"/p>

Matt, who said he did “o.k.”, got a good call. Drafted by the Warriors, and coached by West Virginia assistant Larry Harrison and former women's standout Kate Bulger, his team had a least a name expectation of doing well. That they did, making it to the playoffs and all the way to the final game before dropping that contest. While a win and a title would have been fun, Matt said the experience was one he would never forget.

“For sure I would do it again,” he said. “It’s just a great time to hang out with a bunch of great guys who are fans and with the basketball staff. And beyond that, I got to meet a lot of people that I will definitely stay in contact with and meet up with at events in the future.”

Mountaineers Daily Top Stories