Relph Looks To Future; Keeps Eye On Present

We had a chance to watch future Mountaineer point guard Tyler Relph perform at the recent 2003 Prime Time Shootout in Trenton, New Jersey, against reigning Pennsylvania state champion Harrisburg High School.

Relph has lead his McQuaid Jesuit Knights team to a Top 5 ranking in the latest USA Today high school poll. The 2002-03 Knights squad is the first in school history to go unbeaten during the regular season.

Relph is a deadly outside shooter with good ball-handling skills. In the games we have watched him play, he demonstrated an uncanny knack of seemingly always making the right decision. While certainly not the biggest or quickest player on the court, he is effective by using his strength and dribbling to free himself up for a jumper, or by drawing defensive pressure and passing off to an open teammate.

Its no wonder Relph and his teammates are pleased and excited about how their season has gone so far.

"Oh yeah, 20-0 and ranked 2nd in the country, you can't beat that" said Relph. "We just need to keep it going. We're done with the regular season and received a 1st round bye in the playoffs."

During the game in Trenton, Relph displayed a determined attitude and competitive heart that clearly comes to the forefront every time the game becomes close. Whether it's a nice assist off a pinpoint pass or timely 3-pointer, Relph doesn't shy away from the action when the game is on the line. In the matchup with Harrisburg, Relph made several key plays down the stretch to help McQuaid pull away in the 4th quarter and win 73-60.

"It was a tough game," he said. "I didn't feel well all week. They (Harrisburg) came out and put pressure on us right from the start. I was really feeling it the second half. But we were able to keep it together and get the win."

While we're not sure McQuaid is the 2nd best team in the nation, we are sure Tyler Relph will be a solid player for Coach John Beilein next season. Already, many Mountaineer fans have etched Tyler's name into the starting lineup next season.

"I don't know about that," a laughing Relph said. "I'm just going to go in and work hard. I will do whatever I can to help the team be successful. I look forward to next season and hopefully we can get West Virginia back into the NCAA tournament. I think that will be the goal every year, to get into the NCAA."

"I will need to get stronger and work on getting my shot off quicker, he said. "I really look forward to getting to college. But first we have some business to take care of here."

Its no wonder WVU fans are drooling over the arrival of Relph, as he appears to be a perfect fit for John Beilein and his system, both on and off the court.

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