Dude, Where's His Car?

Not much can ruin the disposition of John Flowers, the WVU men's basketball team's constant source of laughter and mood-lightening. But after being forced to drop off his car at a local dealership (and getting a friend to bring him to practice at the Coliseum), Flowers was -- for once -- a bit down in the mouth.

"I'm really bummed out about it, actually," said Flowers, who managed to crack a smile when asked about the fate of his car, which he had been bemoaning on Twitter earlier Tuesday.

"I don't want to talk about it. I think the transmission is messed up. It's really eating me up right now, actually."

So it might be a good thing that the reserve forward won't have to rely on his car to travel the final stretch of West Virginia's road to the Final Four.

That's a familiar journey in the Flowers family, as his mother, Pam, was a part of the dominant Louisiana Tech women's program in the early 1980s.

She was a part of national championship teams in 1981 and 1982, was a Kodak All-American in both of those years and in 1980, and was the winner of the Wade Trophy as the women's college basketball player of the year in 1982.

So it stands to reason that the one-time player (then known by her maiden name of Pam Kelly) might have a bit of extra motherly advice for her son heading into this Saturday's national semifinals.

"She just told me to go out and play my game, don't try to force anything," recalled Flowers. "Just go out there and do what I do. That's basically what she told me."

Instead of trying to be another coach, Flowers' mother has opted to slide into the role of cheerleader. The junior forward said his mom will be at Saturday's game against Duke.

"She's real proud of me," said the Waldorf, Md., native. "My parents are real proud of me. My brothers are real proud of me. My home town is real proud of me. So there's nothing else I could ask for."

His friends back home may have a tough time picking who to root for on Saturday night, as Duke guard Nolan Smith is also a local product, hailing from Upper Marlboro, Md.

So Flowers, a bit of a trash-talker and taunter, said he would be doing his best to get inside the Blue Devils' star's head.

That may have worked a bit, as the reverse forward admitted he and his teammates had also tried to get Kentucky forward DeMarcus Cousins off his game in last weekend's Elite Eight game.

Cousins, the subject of considerable attention from guard Joe Mazzulla and others at the bottom of WVU's 1-3-1 zone, complained to officials about the lack of foul calls against his defenders on several occasions.

Flowers said he finally tired of the complaining, telling UK's freshman forward to "stop crying." But when the 6-11 Cousins heard it and said, "What?" in Flowers' direction, he feigned ignorance.

"He's a big guy, you know," Flowers said, laughing.

And despite the car troubles, those chuckles have characterized the junior forward's interaction with Mountaineer fans.

His Twitter feed (@jflow41) has drawn nearly 3,000 followers, who get to read about everything from the exploits of he and his friends, to car troubles, to pictures of girls in his classes that have "sideways ponytails" that Flowers just finds funny.

Of course, most notably of late, those Tweets have also included videos of he and his teammates, bored in various hotels, engaging in various time-wasting activities -- from lip-syncing to Brian McKnight's "Back at One" to beating Jonnie West senseless with a pillow to, most recently, a full-on dramatic interpretation of West's anger at being called a "jive turkey."

He also recently went on a day-long Tweeting fest about the many reasons he loves West Virginia fans. His favorite?

"I think the No. 1 reason I love West Virginia fans is because wherever we go, they go too," said Flowers. "I said this yesterday on Twitter, but I think if we had a game on the moon, they'd be up there waiting for us to play. It's great knowing we have the support of the whole state."

There's little doubt that Flowers is almost as valuable for his ability to keep his teammates relaxed and carefree as for his ability to defend, rebound and make the occasional jump shot (as Kentucky learned all too well in the Elite Eight).

"That's kind of my personality," he said. "I like to have a good time. You can't take things too serious. It's supposed to be fun, so I try to come out and have as much fun as I can. Maybe if they see me having fun they'll try to have fun as well. But you've still got to stay focused as well."

For now, that means focusing on playing for a national championship this weekend -- and trying to get that car's transmission fixed.

"We'll prepare for (Duke) just as any other team," said Flowers. "We'll watch film on them, practice, go over their stuff and get ready for them as much as we would any other team."

"I can't even think about (winning the national championship) right now. It would be great. This is unreal right now, as it is, being in the Final Four. If we win the national championship, things could get a little out of hand. We're going to go up there and play our hardest, blue-collar basketball like we've been doing."

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