The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 17, 2010

HERTZEL COLUMN - Always be prepared

MORGANTOWN — What Da’Sean Butler did last week in the Big East Tournament was, no doubt, an amazing feat. Some players play and entire career without hitting a game-winning basket, let alone to drop two in within the space of three days on a stage no less than Madison Square Garden itself.

Some people are just born to be heroes.

But we offer up today for your consideration the fact that on a degree of difficulty, a do-or-die shot in a given moment from a player who is lathered up and fully immersed in the game rates somewhere below a player coming cold into an affair in a crucial situation and being able to do the same thing.

In short, what we are saying, is that what Jonnie West and Casey Mitchell did last week in that same Big East Tournament on that same Madison Square Garden stage was as difficult as what Butler did, if not quite as dramatic.

Consider that West and Mitchell have spent most of their season sitting somewhere down at the end of the bench, still wearing their sweats, playing the mentally difficult but physically undemanding role of benchwarmer.

It is a challenge for them to accept such a role and an equally difficult challenge for their coach, Bob Huggins, to get them to accept it and remain ready for the a moment such as what occurred during the Big East Tournament when they were needed.

“I just tell them the story about Jay Jacobs,” Huggins revealed, referring to the long-age WVU reserve player from Morgantown, Jay Jacobs, a teammate of Jerry West’s and now the color analyst on games in which his son, Jonnie, plays.

The way Jacobs tells his story, he was sitting in his normal spot on the bench one day when coach Fred Schaus came down and said, “Jacobs, get in there.”

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