Summers Finds Best Fit at WVU talked with transfer Robert Summers about his move from Penn State to West Virginia.

Summers, a 6-11, 240-pound center from Lincoln High School in Gahanna, Ohio, played for the Nittany Lions the past two seasons, but became the latest in a lengthy list of Penn Staters to leave the struggling program. After looking at several schools, Summers made WVU his choice following a visit to the Mountaineer campus a weekend ago.

"WVU was high on my list," the articulate Summers told "When I first started looking at schools after I decided to transfer, I had a lot of calls from schools showing interest. But West Virginia seemed like they had everything that fit the best. Coach Beilein is a great coach, it's the Big East, and his system is great. It seemed like the best fit for me."

Although Summers was recruited by current Mountaineer assistant Jerry Dunn when Dunn was in charge at Penn State, Summers noted that Dunn was not the only reason that he decided to head for West Virginia.

"Coach Dunn was the icing on the cake, but he was not the main reason I am coming to WVU," Summers observed. It was a definite plus for me that he's there, though."

Although he's just 19 years old, Summers, like many of the players he will be joining, will have a great deal of experience to draw upon. Summers appeared primed to become a main cog in Penn State's lineup next year after starting 20 of 28 games during his sophomore season. However, he said that he became a bit disenchanted with what seemed to be a cycle of rebuilding processes in Happy Valley, and felt that getting "a fresh start" was important for him.

"When I was recruited to Penn State initially, I knew they were rebuilding, so I expected that. But I felt that they were going through it again, especially after a couple of people left.

"I'm a junior now, and after we had a couple of down years, it looked like we were going to be young again. I just felt like I needed a fresh start. Plus, with this move, I will get closer to home."

Summers, who is majoring in sports management, looked at a number of different schools, including Valparaiso, Miami (Fla.), Texas Christian and Ball State. He visited the Valpo campus, and has visits lined up to other schools, but decided after his trip to West Virginia that the WVU campus was the place to be.

"We visited on April 30th and May 1st and 2nd," the lanky center said. "My parents came with me. It was my first visit to campus. I had a vision of what it was going to be like, and I had a good visit.

"My parents liked it too, especially my Dad. He had checked it out a lot. He looked at all the facilities and sites on the Internet, so he kind of knew what to expect. My Mom wasn't looking at the basketball side so much - she was looking at the academics, the living arrangements, and those kinds of things. But she really liked it too.

"I feel like I got along with everyone on the team. It's a college town. I really liked the Coliseum, and I was impressed with the new facilities."

Although renovations to the Coliseum locker rooms, meeting rooms, film rooms and training facilites are just underway, the diagrams and drawings of the improvements had a big effect on Summers. However, the biggest impressions was made by one of the more exuberant members of the WVU staff.

"I met Mike Barwis, and he's a good guy. He was one of the highlights of my vist. He came in full of energy. He talked to me about his program, and he's just so enthusiastic about West Virginia.

"I'll have this year to work in the weight room, and I think I can get stronger. I'm at 240 right now, and I'm thinking I can be about 260-265 by next season."

Summers' game should certainly fit into West Virginia's offensive style, which looks for shooters, first and foremost, at every position.

"I'm a seven-footer that can run the floor - I can hit the 15-20 foot shot," Summers said as he reocunted his strenghts. "I'm not just stuck on the block powering away, although I think I can do that too. I'm athletic. I watched WVU games last year, and I saw how Coach Beilein let the big guys shoot - that's a plus for me."

Of course, getting shots on the floor is a long way in the future for the Ohio native, who will first have to sit out the upcoming 2004-05 season before embarking upon his final two years of eligbility. However, that timefram fits neatly with that of center D'or Fischer, who will play his senior season this year whil Summers sits out.

"When I signed the transfer I thought about sitting out. Coming out of high school, I didn't want to redshirt, and I didn't. So now I have to sit out a year, and it's just something I have to do.

"I'm going to put it to good use," Summers continued. "I'll work in the weight room, and I'll be on campus this summer playing and working."

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