The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

August 10, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Jerry West talks about his WVU career

MORGANTOWN — The legendary Jerry West put up unbelievably fantastic numbers as the greatest basketball superstar in West Virginia University men’s basketball history.

The graceful 6-foot-3, 180-pound guard from Chelyan, W.Va., remains the No. 1 scorer and No. 1 rebounder with respective averages of 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game.

Making these fancy figures all the more remarkable is the fact that he was able to compete just three years on the varsity whereas most Mountaineer cagers had a full four-year varsity career.

West, who is 75 and still active administratively in professional basketball, owns an incomparable set of WVU statistics and school records for his college career.

For 93 games, he scored 2,309 points and pulled down 1,240 rebounds. He made 815 field goals in 1,660 attempts (50.8 percent) and 623 free throws in 851 attempts (73.2 percent).

West, admittedly shy and not around many people in his tiny town at East Bank High School, developed quickly into a magnificent young man and leader at WVU.

In a telephone interview earlier this week, West declined to answer when asked if he’s surprised his all-time points and rebounds records still stand after 53 years.

“I wouldn’t know anything about that,” he said simply. “I never have been interested in stuff like that. I never did.

“It was just being a part of West Virginia basketball at a special time, and having a chance to play on a really great team. People were really great. They provided state-wide support for our teams.”

West called it a growing-up process for him. He noted that coach Fred Schaus and full-time assistant George King, both of whom played in the NBA, tried to be helpful to him.

“But also the people I played with were unbelievably helpful in the success I had personally,” he continued.

“But it became evident to me as an athlete that I was growing up, that I was becoming a heck of a player and getting better every year.

“It was a very important time up there. I think you’ll see that at other schools. There are a few players that are special at the time.”

West readily admitted that “I was very athletic (at WVU) and the way we played I think was conducive for all of us to have a very athletic team for that time.

“The way we played — we weren’t always the biggest team — but it allowed us to succeed. A lot of things in basketball are based on anticipation of certain people. Also put into terms of environment of what we’re doing as a team for things to happen.”

West, who wore No. 44 (now retired), and his teammates posted consecutive records of 26-2, 29-5, and 26-5. They were No. 1 in the Southern Conference twice and No. 2 once.

The Mountaineers came within one point of winning the national championship against California in the 1959 NCAA Tournament, bowing by 71-70 at Louisville, Ky.

Since West left after the 1959-60 season, no one has come closer than 450 points and 170 rebounds to his respective all-time career school records. He also still holds a total of 17 records.

He earned more All-America first-team honors than any other Mountaineer in school history. He played 14 years in the NBA.

West is in the Pro Basketball, West Virginia Sports Writers, and WVU Sports Halls of Fame, among others.

Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos