The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

December 2, 2010

Poetry in motion

Mitchell shines in WVU’s 71-50 victory

MORGANTOWN — With all due apologies to Ernest Lawrence Thayer and his famous poem, “Casey at the Bat”:

The outlook wasn’t brilliant for Bob Huggins team that day;

The score stood four to nothing, with almost two full halves to play,

And then when Lumpkins hit a shot, and moments later did the same,

A pall-like silence fell upon the patrons of the game.

And so it began, the poem and what would become a 71-50 West Virginia victory over American University, a victory in which the Mountaineers’ own Casey, this one named Mitchell, had his fourth consecutive game of 25 of more points.

For the record this Casey scored 27 points in 29 minutes, combining jumpers with a variety of curls and drives as he hit 8 of 11 shots, while managing only 1 of 3 three-point shots.

It is the stuff poetry is written about and we continue, exaggerating the situation but not the heroics:

A straggling few got up to go in deep despair. The rest

Clung to that hope which springs eternal in the human breast;

They thought, “If only Casey could but get a whack at this —

We’d put up even money now, for Casey would not miss.

It is difficult to understand what has happened with Casey Mitchell, a total flop out of Chipola Junior College last year, where he won National Junior College Player of the Year honors. He came to WVU, could not catch on, battled Bob Huggins, fought injury and failed to contribute much to a Final Four run.

But this year it is different. He is needed as much as the fictional Casey was needed and he is delivering. He is all he was said to be a year ago.

“I think I’m surprising lot of people,” Mitchell admitted after the game.

Perhaps players on the opposing teams, but not his teammates.

“I saw what he did in practice,” guard Truck Bryant, who returned to the starting lineup after a one game banishment for messing up in practice, said. “I’m not surprised by his offense. I’m surprised by his defense. He got a block and a steal today.”

“We knew last year he could do it. In practice, he shoots well. He’ll make 10 in a row, six in a row,” center Deniz Kilicli said.

“His confidence is sky high. You score 25 in four straight games and you can do anything,” Bryant said.

It is, indeed, special to see, and at times it seems his teammates are just standing there watching him.

“As long as he keeps doing it, they can watch all they want,” said Huggins.

But now, back to Mr. Thayer’s masterpiece, with a spin on its ending as the Mighty Casey struck out:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright,

The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,

“And somewhere men are laughing, and the fans are off in heaven;

For there is some joy in Mudville — for Casey scored twenty-seven.

And there you have it, really, for Mitchell has become poetry in motion as he dominates the WVU offense, plays solid defense and has scouts from other teams trying to figure a way to stop him come the Big East season.

American tried some grabbing, but that didn’t work, quite obviously.

Bryant expects to see some double teams, but he figures that’s OK for it will free him and Kevin Jones, who had 16 points in this one.

“If they do that for me it’s a win-win situation,” Bryant said.

And for Mitchell, if they try to pressure him, get in his face?

“I’ll just go around them,” he said.

Like Bryant said, when you’ve scored 25 in four straight games, you can do everything.

E-mail Bob Hertzel at

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