MORGANTOWN — Cam Thoroughman lifted his right arm as he stood on the court in the midst of West Virginia’s rather unusual 74-68 victory over Cincinnati, offering indisputable evidence of his claim of a foul.
His white, West Virginia basketball jersey had a large rip in it.
“Do you think,” he asked the official, “I did this to myself?”
The official just laughed.
The torn uniform was being worn by Thoroughman with all the pride of a Gold Medal curler, much as he wore the bruise he sustained when Cincinnati Yancy Gates, who may just be the most chiseled man in the entire Big East, took him and threw him to the floor in frustration, Thoroughman have harassed him much the way a mosquito harasses a camper.
At 6-feet-9 and 260 pounds, Gates has two inches and 20 pounds on Thoroughman, but the only way he could shake him the midst of game in which he grabbed zero rebounds was to send him crashing to the floor as the official tooted his whistle.
This was Thoroughman at his best, smaller, slower, probably less talented and simply driving the man he was playing crazy.
“I love it,” Thoroughman said of his ability to harass bigger, faster, better players.
It leads to bumps, to bruises, to rips and, yes, he admits to more than a couple of bloody noses, but when he’s on a Gates or a Luke Harangody of Notre Dame and they can’t get done what they want to do, he enjoys himself.
“I’m just glad he frustrates someone other than me,” said Coach Bob Huggins, jokingly, when Thoroughman’s style of play and opponents’ reaction to it was raised in his post-game press gathering, the first one he had held as a West Virginia coach beating his former team.