That’s it folks. Another season has ended for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Like every season before it, the elusive national title is still out of our grasps. It is nothing new for West Virginia faithful, yet this goodbye will be hard. It will be hard because it means the end of an era. The Jevon Carter era has now, officially, come to an end.
The Mountaineers have seen great players come through Morgantown before. Jerry West, Hot Rod Hundley, Rod Thorn, Drew Schifino, Da’Sean Butler and countless others. Jevon Carter has now written his legacy and deserves to be mentioned along with those players.
Carter came to West Virginia from Maywood, Illinois. Bob Huggins recently recanted a visit where he saw Jevon in Disney, pressing at 8 am. Huggins wasn’t even awake, stating he was drinking “a large cup of coffee, trying to wake up” and Carter was playing the press at 8 AM. In the morning. Huggins called his assistants then and there and told them to offer Carter. When asked what he did well, Huggins responded “Hell, I don’t know what he does well, but he sure tries to guard”
Carter’s presence in Morgantown the last four years has allowed Bob Huggins to implement a full-court, on-ball pressure defense which drew comparisons to the tough, physical teams at Cincinnati. While the defensive moniker “Press Virginia” is the rage for the media, look at what Jevon Carter’s presence has meant to WVU.
In the two years before Carter came to West Virginia, Huggins and the Mountaineers struggled with the Big 12 transition. The Big East was a physical grind and the Mountaineers were a fringe NCAA tournament team thanks to the best conference in the land. The expected transition to the “weaker” Big 12 was supposed to be easy, but the defense failed Huggins and the Mountaineers missed the NCAA Tournament their first two years in the new league.
Enter Carter. He wasn’t a starter as a freshman, like Oklahoma’s Trae Young, but the impact he made on both offense and defense was undeniable. Carter, from the moment he stepped onto the court, affected the ball. A game that showed just how much impact Carter could have was against #18 Oklahoma Sooners. In the game, Carter was the leading scorer for the ‘Eers, scoring 18 while grabbing 7 boards, 3 assists, 1 block, and 3 steals as the Mountaineers cruised to a 86-65 victory. With senior Juwan Staten leaving at the end of the season after the first Big 12 NCAA bid for the Mountaineers, Carter stood to take over the mantle as “the man” for WVU.
Over the next three years, Carter has proven he was always ready to handle the spotlight. He increased his points per game from 8.1 as a freshman to over 17 as a senior. He increased his field goal percentage for 36 as a freshman to over 42 and his 3-point shooting from 31% to 38%.
More than just improving his personal performance, Jevon has improved the state of West Virginia Basketball. Before Jevon became a Mountaineer, West Virginia had reached the Sweet Sixteen eight times in its history. Jevon has reached the Sweet Sixteen three of his four years. In fact, thanks to Carter, the Sweet Sixteen has become the standard for the school. We should reach the S16 because we have Jevon Carter.
Carter has meant a lot to the school and a lot to Bob Huggins. Carter will leave the school as the all-time steals leader with 330. He set the single season steals record with 112 this season, becoming one of 25 players ever to record 100 steals in a season. He became the first Power 5 player ever to record 1,500 points, 500 assists, 500 rebounds and 300 steals in a career.
We as fans have been spoiled by such a talented and selfless player as Jevon. He rose through hard work and dedication to become one of the greatest players in modern WVU history. For that, saying goodbye to this season will prove to be one of the hardest things we have to do.