Weber Tournament Opens At WVU

One of West Virginia's main basketball recruiting targets opened play today at the WVU Coliseum in the initial round of the Triple S Charlie Weber Basketball Invitational.

Marcus Sikes, a 6-7 post player for the Richmond Squires, showed solid footwork inside with a nice shooting touch and intelligence in running the floor.

Sikes' line of five points, two boards and a blown one-handed dunk doesn't stick out. But consider the prospect played just half the game and that against much smaller competition he was able to gain inside position and play smothering defense in his team's 74-57 blowout of the Lancaster (Pa.) Elite.

"My jumper and my movement off my dribble are my strengths," Sikes said. "But I'd like to work on my all-around game before next season."

Besides West Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut -- who sent new assistant Clyde Vaughan to the game -- Cincinnati, George Washington and George Mason, among others, have shown interest.

Sikes said he is interested in WVU, but that the race is wide open right now.

"I want to see everything the schools have to offer," he said. "But I will look at West Virginia while I am here, and the town and facilities."

Mountaineer assistant coach Mike Jones was in attendance, along with Vaughan and coaches from South Carolina, South Carolina State, Dayton, Penn State, Hartford, Tennessee Tech, Virginia Commonwealth, Bucknell, James Madison, Old Dominion and American University. Former Mountaineer assistant Chris Cheeks also watched the action, as did WVU women's head coach Mike Carey.

Two other WVU recruiting targets, 6-8 Brad Byerson and 6-0 Vern Hamilton, did not make the trip. Squires' head coach Reggie McFarland said Byerson needed to work while Hamilton begins taking summer classes Monday.

McFarland said Virginia Tech, Providence, North Carolina State, George Washington and Richmond are battling early for Byerson. Hamilton has heard from WVU, N.C. State, UNC, Richmond and DePaul in basketball. Since catching 70 passes for 20 touchdowns last year in his first season playing football, Hamilton has attracted some interest from Notre Dame and Michigan, McFarland said. Hamilton has expressed the desire to play both football and basketball in college.

WVU has a mixed history with alumni of the Squires, as former Mountaineers Chris Moss, and Jonathan Hargett, as well as sophomore Tyrone Sally, played for the squad. Richmond.

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