MORGANTOWN — There are two faces of Joe Mazzulla.
One was visible at the Coliseum Saturday night as No. 6 West Virginia’s shut-down defensive specialist, a high-energy, sometimes snarling, sometimes taunting, always daunting force that changed the course of the game with Coppin State.
The other will be visible at the Coliseum today, but it will be a calmer, more tranquil smiling Joe Mazzulla, one whose accomplishments will far exceed what he did to help West Virginia earn a 69-43 victory before 10,121 fans.
Today, three and a half years after enrolling at WVU, Mazzulla will trade his old gold and blue uniform in for a cap and gown as he receives a degree in multidisciplinary studies with as diverse a set of minors as you can put together, business, Spanish and exercise philosophy.
Mazzulla, with a year of eligibility in basketball still ahead of him after being granted a medical redshirt last year when he fractured the growth plate in his left shoulder, will begin work on a master’s degree in athletic coaching.
Certainly, it was a weekend for Mazzulla to remember, his father, David, and mother, LaTresa, in attendance at both the basketball game and the graduation.
“My relationship with my dad comes out when I play,” Mazzulla said, noting that his father coached him “a little in middle school” and implanted in him the fiery style that characterizes his basketball.
While most fans left the Coliseum marveling at the play of forward Kevin Jones, who each game seems to add a new dimension to an already multidimensional game, this time scoring a team-leading 22 points and grabbing off 11 rebounds, eight on the offensive end, for his second career double-double, it was Mazzulla who lit the Mountaineers’ wick.
You must go back to the moment Mazzulla came off the bench. The Mountaineers trailed, 11-9, with 12:24 left in a slow-motion half, one in which Coppin State was trying to hold the ball and where their guard, Lenny Young, was abusing West Virginia and amusing his teammates.
MORGANTOWN — There are two faces of Joe Mazzulla.
- Bob Herzel
HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age
The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
“There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”
O’Brien leads WVU baseball past Marshall
Catcher Cam O’Brien made a bid at becoming only the second West Virginia University player to hit for the cycle as the Mountaineers jumped on Marshall early and routed their in-state rival, 10-3, behind strong pitching from Corey Walter and a pair of relievers.
HERTZEL COLUMN- WVU faithful again have a reason to root against Vick
It would be one final indignation, that’s what it would be if Michael Vick were to beat out Geno Smith and win the starting quarterback job with the New York Jets.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Luck open to WVU fans’ suggestions
West Virginia’s fans have spoken, perhaps not verbally but nonetheless have had their voices heard, over the past few years as attendance has fallen at the Mountaineers’ football and basketball games.
Mountaineers ready for slate of rivalry games
Looking to put together a late-season run to get into the NCAA championships, West Virginia faces a pair of midweek rivalry games in a crucial five-game week coming off winning two of three games at Oklahoma.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Summer, Alabama will be used to get WVU’s mind right
The ink had barely dried on the final reports out of West Virginia’s spring practice when thoughts turned forward toward the lazy, hazy days of late summer, days that will bring us into football season with a game that can either change the entire image of WVU football or sour it even further.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier
You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Under pressure, NCAA decides to change rules
At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing
The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
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- HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age