Flowers' Power Comes From Parents

When West Virginia won the recruiting battle for John Flowers, it knew it was getting a sizeable, athletic forward with a tremendous upside. What it might not have known was how much genetics could have played a part in his basektball prowess.

Flowers' father, Nate, is 6-8, accounting for much of his son's 6-7, 210-pound frame. His mother, Pam Kelly, played power forward for Louisiana Tech from 1979-82. She was a three-time All-American, the first player in school history to score 2,000 points and still holds the NCAA record for most free throws made in one NCAA game, with 12 in 1982. Cheryl Miller also made 12 in 1986.

Kelly helped Tech to three consecutive Final Four appearances and two national championships, the latter of which was the first ever for women's basketball in the NCAA. The other title, in 1981 over Tennessee, was for the Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championship and led into Tech's 54-game winning streak, still the longest in collegiate women's basketball history.

Kelly also won the Wade Trophy and the Broderick Award as the nation's outstanding woman college basketball player in 1982. In her four seasons as a starter, Kelly scored 2,979 points in 153 games, an average of 19.5 per game, and grabbed 1,511 rebounds. She shot a remarkable .623 from the field, with 1,193 field goals in 1,916 attempts.

Which is why it's surprising when Flowers notes that, yes, his mom played – a bit. That humbleness, along with other traits his considers a major part of his game, make him among the most highly-rated players (, four stars) ever to verbal to WVU under head coach John Beilein.

"My versatility, hard work ethic are (probably the best parts of) my game," said Flowers, WVU's first commit in the 2007 class. "And I know I can get better and learn. I am willing to do that."

Flowers, from St. Mary's Ryken High in Leonardtown, Md., admitted that he verballed to West Virginia largely because of Beilein. If the fourth-year coach would have left, Flowers would have needed to weigh his decision again.

"He is a good coach and a good guy," Flowers said. "A good coach and a good teacher. I feel that when I come from there, I will be a better player. West Virginia was just a good fit for me."

La Salle, Maryland and St. Joseph's had also offered Flowers, who averaged 21 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks as a junior last year. But his father said West Virginia faced an old rival for Flowers' verbal.

"It came down to Virginia Tech and West Virginia," Nate Flowers told "Those were the main two. After we visited Virginia Tech, that's when he made his decision. We're very excited about it. Coach Beilein really wanted him and that meant a lot to us. He put in the time to get him and it ends that process. I don't think anybody else went after him like coach Beilein did from the beginning."

It's expected that Flowers will be one of just two recruits for the 2007 class. West Virginia used seven scholarships on the 2006 class, and will have two for each season for the next three years barring any unexpected openings. That actually makes Flowers' commitment even more special, because Beilein harps on how sure he must be of players in upcoming classes because of the slim margin for error.

Flowers emerged during his junior season as a potential high-major prospect. The line on him is that he is a good athlete who can potentially be a two-position forward. He doesn't shoot as well as most Beilein prospects, but he can drive by bigger players and post up smaller ones. His best play is clearly ahead of him, and he is expected to be a high-major, Top 100 caliber candidate his senior year.

"I think I can play, right now, the three, four and five (at this level)," Flowers said. "I want to get better on my free throw shooting and ball handling, my jump shot and my strength. If I missed my first two threes in games, I would not take anymore because I was just hurting us. I took about 10-15 shots per game, depending upon how many I made."

Flowers said he is still undecided on a major. His AAU team, the DC Blue Devils, might play in the Hoop Group's Triple S Harley Davidson Jam Fest tournament in Morgantown on July 14-16. That would allow Flowers to again visit the campus and possibly play in the WVU Coliseum.

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