RIP: Deniz Kilicli's Beard

Deniz Kilcli's beard passed away peacefully yesterday in the bathroom of a well-furnished Morgantown apartment. It was 4 years old. Grown initially in 2008 as a well-manicured Van Dyke at Beckley's Mountain State Academy, the beard had grown during its time in Morgantown to a sasquatchian monstrosity, home to several small rodents and at least a half-dozen insects.

Throughout its formative years at WVU, the beard evolved from a simple Chinstrap into a Hollywoodian before settling in its most recent form. In addition to its celebrated appearances at the WVU Coliseum, it was also a regular guest star during Deniz's guitar concerts at 1-2-3 Pleasant Street, usually providing accompaniment on the tambourine or harmonica.

Often confused with the beard sported by the mountaineer mascot, Kilicli's facial hair burst onto the scene in 2010 against Pitt, where it was solely responsible for a steal, a blocked shot, and two turnovers. Though barely more than 2 years old at the time, the beard was a key contributor during the Mountaineers' 2010 Final Four run, chipping in with a couple baskets in a Sweet Sixteen win over Washington and assisting on all four of Kilicli's points in WVU's season-ending loss to Duke in Indianapolis. In 2010-11, the beard helped Kilcli to average 6.6 points and exactly 4 rebounds per game, but was also responsible for 38 of his 58 turnovers and hampered his ability to run the floor. This past year, Kilicli's numbers improved to 10.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, even though he was clearly hindered by the beard's bulk and interference with his peripheral vision.

Coach Bob Huggins, often frustrated with the beard's inconsistent play over the last two seasons, had this to say about its passing:

"It's hard, man. It's really hard. Opposing teams and especially fans were really intimidated by the way it made Deniz resemble a jungle-dwelling primate. But ultimately, that thing made Deniz slow and unathletic. You've seen him try to run up and down the court with it, right? The reduced wind resistence alone should give him another inch and a half on his vertical."

A small service will be held this weekend, where the beard's ashes will be scattered into the Monongahela River. In lieu of sending flowers (the plant, not the former Mountaineer forward), Deniz requests that bottles of Skin Bracer and Lectric Shave be sent to the Coliseum locker room, because razor burn stings like a bitch, man.

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