Non-Micro Mentality

It's a numbers game, really, the decision to redshirt Cam Thoroughman.

With an eight-player freshman class, somebody has to take one developmental season. A prime candidate is Jonnie West, a beanpole of a guard who, at 6-3 and 170 pounds, needs to add strength and weight to his frame. Another is Jacob Green, who trails last-man-in Wellington Smith at a forward spot that also has frosh Da'Sean Butler and Joe Alexander. The other is Thoroughman, a nuts and bolts player who does nothing incredible, but all solidly.

The 6-7, 210-pounder is listed as a guard, but blends best at the three and four spots of a swingman and a power player. He has trouble truly defining himself at any one spot, which is fine in head coach John Beilein's system, but he is locked in behind surefire starter Alex Ruoff and Devan Bawinkel, who is playing approximately 10 minutes per game. He has a more solid frame than Bawinkel, but lacks defensively and in the extreme range of shooting of the Winnebago, Ill. native.

"I don't foresee it happening," Beilein said of Thoroughman's insertion into the regular rotation, "unless we have an injury. We have 10 guys we are comfortable with. Right now, Wellington Smith is that 10th guy, and the eight, nine and 10 guys are sharing 20 minutes. It does a disservice to (Thoroughman), and it does a disservice to the eight, nine and 10 guys. I don't see any need for it."

Beilien quickly added that he thought Thoroughman would be "a great five-year player." The Portsmouth, Ohio native inked with West Virginia during the early signing period. He is a good shooter who is termed ‘versatile.' The most endearing trait is that he could be a poor man's Joe Herber. He won't immediately break into the lineup like the German did, but he can pass, handle the ball and shows a fierce toughness, both for the ball on the floor and when it comes off the glass. He also recovered from a medial meniscus tear his senior season in high school when he knee buckled coming down from a dunk.

"We talked about it a little, and we knew it would help," Thoroughman said. "But we did not want to redshirt me immediately because I still might have played. It is day-to-day now. If he needs me, I will play. I am worrying about getting better. Right now, I am a three or four. That's what I work on. Maybe as I get farther into my career, the two."

Throughman said he needs to shoot a higher percentage, and that he would like to improve defensively. He feels that would increase his playing time, as well as improving his quickness. One positive of the reshirt season is that the eight-player class gets broken up into different levels, so that not all eight graduate at the same time. When point guard Joe Mazzulla, Smith, Butler and Bawinkel have exhausted eligibility, Thoroughman, West and Green will still have a season left, as well as invited walk-on Dennis Gagai.

"That is something Beilein wanted to make sure to do," Thoroughman said. "That helps the program out and makes it more even. There are no years where people leave and there would be eight spots open. That makes it tough. I talked to my high school coach about it. People talked to me about it. Out of eight people, you knew someone was going to get redshirted. Coming in, I knew it was going to be a battle. Those other guys are just really good."

There's nothing wrong - and, really, everything right - with that outlook. It shows a maturity and awareness, both of the team as a whole and of self, that some players would lack. When those others, like former Mountaineers Luke Bonner and B.J. Byerson, did not get the time they personally desired, they left the program. The attrition is part of the reason WVU signed eight this season, and led to Beilein's terming today's largely me-first players as ones that came from a "microwave society."

"Kids today want everything now," the coach said when Bonner and Byerson left, perhaps using a broad brush to paint the overall ideals while missing a gem like Thoroughman.

He can be a stud glue guy, a player who does nearly everything, and one that will flash greatness in the box score on occasion. That's not to imply that is all he is capable of, because with his pure abilities and shooting, a year under Beilein can raise his level to an unthought of area. And this program, perhaps more than many others, needs an unselfish outlook. Throughman has that. But his tools make it improbable that he won't get his on a routine basis once he cracks the lineup.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories