"Most Intriguing Player"

Head coach Kevin Keatts of Hargrave Military Academy has been blessed with an abundance of talent during his six years at the school, but he says that Mountaineer verbal commitment Joe Alexander has a blend of skills that sets him apart.

"He has a chance to be a tremendous player," Keatts told BlueGoldNews.com in an exclusive interview. "He's 6-7, and I think he might grow to 6-8. He jumps out of the gym, he can go outside and shoot, and he puts the ball on the floor very well. And he's still just 17 years old."

Alexander came to Hargrave for a year of additional basketball experience from Linganore High School in Maryland, where he was a first team all-conference selection and lead his team to the 3A state semifinals a year ago. He averaged 14.5 points and seven rebounds per game as a senior, but decided to spend a year in prep school to broaden his basketball options.

At Hargrave, Aleexander will be battling a number of Division 1 level players for time, but Keatts said that he will be right in the mix.

"I'm not sure that he won't start," said Keatts, who believes tht he may have as many as 12 Division 1 players on his roster. "It could be a situation where it changes game by game. I think finding playing time for everyone works itself out, though. With so many talented players, they must be ready to play every time out, or they aren't going to be on the floor."

Keatts, who has served two stints at Hargrave sandwiched around a two-year assistant coaching stint at Marshall, says that Alexander, who was also an honorable mention all-D.C. metro selection, has the talent to become a standout player in the Big East.

"He's just a different kind of player than I've had here," Keatts said when trying to identify someone with a similar game. "He's sort of like Rick Barry's kids - kind of a Brent Barry type. He's very athletic, and he can get to the rim from one step inside the free throw line. If he puts it all together, he can be special."

With the commitment of Alexander, the Mountaineers have likely completed their class of 2004-05. Although a third recruit or transfer is always a possibility, WVU looks to have the two players they want for the 2005-06 season. Alex Ruoff, a 6-6 swingman, verbally committed to the Mountaineers in August. Both Ruoff and Alexander are expected to sign during the early singing period next month.

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