Senior Nights are an emotional rollercoaster. There's all the usual gameday excitement, but it's tempered somewhat from the knowledge that for some it'll be the last they get to lace 'em up for the Old Gold and Blue. You want to be happy, to reminisce about the ride, and about how lucky you were to have been there for it, but it's hard not to be a bit melancholy.
Worst of all, it always feels too soon; you watch these guys grow up for 4 years and before you know it they're gone. However, just as every senior isn't equal, neither is every Senior Night, and Monday was even harder than usual.
Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles will be forever linked. They first met when their teams clashed at an AAU tournament in Beckley. Miles' squad won, but the two kept in touch until they arrived in Morgantown, unheralded and hungry. They were the pioneers of Press Virginia, helping to revamp the identity of a program that had looked like it was starting to lose its way.
Their four years here saw plenty of adversity, but you couldn't have asked for a better way for them to go out, with the pair combining for 38 points, 11 assists, and four steals in a swashbuckling 84-74 win over No. 12 Texas Tech, in which West Virginia never trailed. The game-opening flurry in particular was something out of a movie, with my friends swearing that the pop when Jevon hit that pull-up 25 footer to make it 10-0 was as loud as they've ever heard the Coliseum.
Regardless of what happens over the next month, their legacies are unassailable. JC's career is up there with anybody in the Huggs era (and, all due respect to the guys with their numbers on the walls, almost anybody in school history). He's a four-time All-Big 12 Conference defender, he's the defending National DPOY, he's fifth on our all-time wins list, and he's the first major conference player ever—I repeat EVER—to record at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists, and 300 steals. Dax has been his wingman every step of the way, and with 96 wins and 1207 points of his own, there's no question that he's an all-timer, as well.
However, as great as they've been, and as great as Monday night was, their story is not yet over, and that's where the next few weeks could get really interesting. You see, the only thing that's really missing from the paragraph above is a trophy, and though we let the regular season slip I can't help but feel that the conference tournament is very much there for the taking.
To put it plainly, we were the best team in the conference this year and it's starting to feel like we're getting our mojo back; I think this is the year we finally take that last step and bring the damn thing back to Morgantown.
Beyond that though, there's a very special situation that could arise depending on how well we play in the coming month. Provided that we beat Texas this weekend, Carter would be sitting on 102 wins and would need just 6 to pass Dasean for 1st all-time; Dax would have 97 and would be within range of 3rd.
I'll let you figure out for yourselves what might mean in terms of the Madness, but rarely has a pair of players so embodied what our team and state stand for, and it would all too fitting if they were to end up the winningest duo in school history. All that’s left now is to see how far they can take us.