The Times West Virginian

April 17, 2014

Huggins signs junior college guard

Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN — Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.

Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.

“This class gives us a much-needed shot of athleticism on the perimeter, and a group of guards with tremendous versatility and the ability to play with or without the ball,” Huggins said in the announcement. “This depth should provide us the ability to turn up the pressure defensively.”

WVU needed help at guard after Eron Harris, who averaged 17.1 points a game last season, announced he was transferring following the season. Harris said he wanted to play closer to his home in Indiana but has not yet received very much interest from schools in that area.

Phillip is more of an all-around guard than was Harris, who had defensive deficiencies which at times offset his offensive contributions.

“We are excited to be able to land a guard as talented as Tarik in the late signing period,” Huggins said. “Every coach we talked to labeled Tarik as a winner. He gives us much-needed versatility in the backcourt with the ability to play both guard positions. We look for him to be very instrumental in our quest to become a great defensive team again.”

This past season at Independence Community College, he averaged 18.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for coach Tony Turner. In addition, Phillip shot 55 percent from the floor and 38 percent from 3-point range. He was the Jayhawk Conference Player of the Year in the Eastern Division and was the league’s Freshman of the Year. Phillip was also an all-region selection while helping Independence to the division title.

Phillip is from Brooklyn, N.Y., but missed his senior year of high school there.

The 6-3, 180-pound Phillip attended Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C., averaging 26 points and seven assists per game for coach Tony Taylor. He previously attended Brooklyn College Academy. Phillip led Brooklyn College Academy to the PSAL “B” city crown as a sophomore. He played AAU basketball with the Long Island Lightning and Exodus.     

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ESPN has announced that the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game between West Virginia and Alabama on Saturday, Aug. 30, will kick off at 3:30 p.m., and will be televised on either ABC or ESPN2 (reverse mirror).

Mountaineers Athletic Club members and WVU season ticket holders can request Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game tickets online at or by returning their priority ticket request form. The priority ticket request deadline is Thursday, May 15. Information on ticket availability for the general public will be announced after this deadline.

Chick-fil-A announced on Wednesday that it will open the college football season with two games at the Georgia Dome. In addition to the Alabama-West Virginia showdown, there will be a game at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 28 between Ole Miss and Boise State.

“In recreating the Kickoff Game format, our goal has always been to open the season in a memorable way,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “With these match-ups, teams and fan bases, there’s no doubt that all eyes, once again, will be on Atlanta for this colossal weekend of college football. With these two games along with opening the new College Football Hall of Fame, Atlanta will be the home of the celebratory kickoff to college football!”

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West Virginia’s baseball team, fresh off a frigid 4-1 victory over Ohio State with sophomore left-hander Ross Vance striking out 14 batters, will open a three-game series against Oklahoma at L. Dale Mitchell Park in Norman at 7 p.m. today.

The two teams will play at 7 p.m. Friday and at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Thursday’s game will be televised on Fox Sports Southwest, while Friday and Saturday will be televised on Fox College Sports. The radio broadcast will be on select affiliates of the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG College.

 The Mountaineers are 17-15 overall and 2-6 in Big 12 play and have lost seven of their last eight games.

“It’s going to be tough from here on out with Texas, Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas coming up. They’re probably the four best teams in the league that we’re getting ready to play,” coach Randy Mazey said. “Everybody is going to have to be on top of their game. It’s going to be a great opportunity for our guys to go down there and play on one of the biggest stages in the country.”

Junior left-hander John Means (4-1, 1.72 ERA) will start game one on the mound Thursday for the Mountaineers, followed by junior left-hander Harrison Musgrave (3-2, 1.73 ERA) on Friday and senior right-hander Sean Carley (5-1, 2.73 ERA) on Saturday.

Musgrave is No. 2 in the Big 12 in innings pitched (62.1), No. 2 in strikeouts (56), No. 4 in opponent batting average (.198) and No. 5 in ERA (1.73). Means is No. 4 in ERA (1.72) and No. 6 in opponent batting average (.208).

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Junior college guard Jessica Morton has signed a letter of intent to play with Mike Carey’s West Virginia women’s team next season.

“We are very excited to have a player of her caliber. Jessica is going to give us much-needed scoring from the perimeter,” Carey said in the release. “She is a combo guard that can play several positions and can score. The other things I really like about her is that she likes to play defense and is a leader on the floor. We’re very excited about her.”

Morton is a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard out of Gulf Coast State College. She guided the Commodores to a 21-7 overall record last season, making it to the 2014 FCSAA semifinals.

Morton started all 28 games, leading her team with 16.4 points per game and was the fourth-leading rebounder with 5.6 boards per game. She closed out her sophomore season as a two-time All-Panhandle first-team conference selection and was named to the FCSAA/ NJCAA Region VII All-State team each season with Gulf Coast.

As a freshman, Morton averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as the Commodores’ leading rebounder. She earned 26 starts in 31 games, helping Gulf Coast to a 28-6 overall record, and a share of the Panhandle Conference regular-season title.

A native of Augusta, Ga., Morton was a four-year letter winner on the girls’ basketball team at Glenn Hills High, named 2009 4A All-State honorable mention.

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The West Virginia University rowing team’s competition against Bucknell and George Mason in Shamokin Dam, Pa., has been canceled due to unsafe conditions.

With the recent amount of rain and melted snow, the water level on the Susquehanna River, where this weekend’s races were to take place, has risen to an unsafe height for racing.

The Mountaineers’ next appearance on the water will be at the Big 12 Championships in Oklahoma City on May 3.