"West Virginia really started recruiting me toward the end of [last] school year," said Tommie McCune. "They offered me a scholarship in July, and the were really recruiting me hard after that. I liked West Virginia a lot, but I didn't want to commit until I had seen the campus, in case I didn't like it. But when I went down, it was nice. Everything they showed me was nice. I did not want to miss out on a great opportunity, so I decided to get it done. I went ahead and committed, and I will sign in the fall."
West Virginia's interest reciprocated that of McCune, who began watching the Mountaineers more closely during last season's Big East championship run.
"I started watching them during the Big East tournament, and I got to watch them play a lot," he said of his first real interest in West Virginia. "I saw they way they play. They go up and down, and give players a lot of freedom. I think that fits me well. I knew what kind of coach that Coach Huggins is, and when I started talking with the coaches I got a good relationship with them. I felt like I could be myself around them. On my visit I got to talk to some of the players, and everything was cool there, too. They seemed like a good bunch of guys."
McCune didn't have a timetable to make or announce his commitment, but the opportunity at West Virginia came after a whirlwind year in which he leaped onto the national recruiting scene. Following a junior season in which he averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds per game (earning all-league and Dream Team honors), McCune impressed even more on the AAU circuit. Playing for Dorian's Pride, and also subbing in for a couple of weeks with All-Ohio Red, McCune excelled against good competition. When the West Virginia offer came along, he didn't want to pass it up.
"I was wanting to get it done, but I wanted to see the campus first to be sure," he reiterated, exhibiting restraint that some recruits don't. "Now that I've made the commitment, that's probably pretty much it for recruiting. There's no point in going to other schools. I am happy with my decision."
A versatile player who can go both inside and out, McCune believes that he has the ability to take advantage of defenders no matter what sort of defender matches up against him. He has played the post for his Saginaw High School team, and ranges out to the wing in AAU, so he has experience in the paint and on the perimeter.
"It helps me a lot," he said of his differing roles. "That's my bread and butter. When they put smaller guys on me that want to stop me from dribbling, I go to the post. When they put bigger guys on me to try to stop me in there, I can take them outside. And when they double-team me, I can pass it too. I've learned how to pass out of double teams, and make good passes and find the open man."
The versatility extends to other sports. While McCune admits that participating in other endeavors is motivated partly by the desire to stay in shape and pass time until basketball season, he's good enough to have played soccer, tennis and baseball through his prep career. He admits the tennis gig was something of a lark ("a lot of guys on the team were doing it"), but the specter of a long 6-8 player with huge reach at the net had to bring some fear to an opponent or two along the way. This year, he is eyeing baseball as a possible spring option, but notes that basketball always comes first.
McCune has taken the ACT, and is prepping for another try shortly. With his current GPA, he says he is "just a point or two" short of achieving a qualifying score.