Welcome, By-Godders, to The Shotgun/Throwdown, WVU’s best place for sports links, information, sophomoric humor, and daily distractions.
West Virginia has filled its greatest position of need with National Signing Day on the horizon. A’varius Sparrow, a running back from Orlando, Florida, announced his commitment to WVU on Friday.
There is still one week before West Virginia closes out its 2020 recruiting class, but the Mountaineers already have a head-start on the following 2021 class. Andrew Wilson-Lamp, a wide receiver from Massillon, Ohio, committed to WVU on Monday.
The basketball world received horrible news on Sunday, as Kobe Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash in California. Bryant’s death shocked thousands of current and former NBA players, including Mountaineer great Jerry West, who was the Lakers’ general manager when Bryant began his NBA career in 1996.
Tony Caridi, Brad Howe, and Hoppy Kercheval break down West Virginia’s recent wins, and they look ahead to the Mountaineers’ next big game at Texas Tech. The guys also discuss WVU’s free throw shooting and next season’s football win total.
The West Virginia men’s basketball team moved up to #11 in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll and #12 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The moves followed big wins at home for WVU over Texas and Missouri. The Mountaineers are also #7 in the NCAA NET rankings.
The Mountaineers woke up after a slow first half to beat Missouri, and help Bob Huggins win his 876th career game to move into a tie with Adolph Rupp for 7th all-time. WVU was led by senior Jermaine Haley and freshman Deuce McBride, who both had 15 points.
Despite 24 points from redshirt senior guard Tynice Martin, the West Virginia women’s basketball team suffered a 73-60 loss to TCU on Sunday night. The Mountaineers are now 13-4 overall, with a 3-4 Big 12 record.
After four straight losses the West Virginia women’s basketball team has dropped out of the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. The Mountaineers had been in the AP poll for seven straight weeks.
West Virginia Athletics
West Virginia alumnus Dan Stratford was officially welcomed back to Morgantown Saturday morning, as he was introduced as WVU’s next men’s soccer head coach. Stratford compiled a 61-4-5 record in three seasons as the head coach at the University of Charleston, winning NCAA Division II national championships in 2017 and 2019.
The West Virginia rifle team opened its spring season on Sunday afternoon with a 4683-4648 win over #11 Army. The Mountaineers are now 8-0 this year, with a 7-0 GARC record.
Three scores of 9.9 or better on floor exercise helped push the West Virginia gymnastics team to a first place, 196.025 showing over New Hampshire and Temple in the Mountaineers’ home opener on Sunday. WVU is now 2-2.
A pair of thrilling relay wins lifted the West Virginia women’s swimming and diving team over Iowa State on Saturday in Morgantown. The Mountaineers remain undefeated in Big 12 competition and hold a 2-2 record overall.
Led by redshirt sophomore Noah Adams, three members of the West Virginia wrestling team appeared in the first of four coaches panel rankings. Adams sits at #2 in the opening rankings to make him the highest-ranked Big 12 wrestler across all weight divisions.
Senior Chloe Cluchey of the West Virginia gymnastics team has been named the Big 12 Conference Event Specialist of the Week. Cluchey’s honor is the first of the season for a WVU gymnast.
For the second consecutive season, the Backyard Brawl between West Virginia and Pitt will be played at PNC Park, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The undefeated West Virginia rifle team drops one spot to #3 in this week’s College Rifle Coaches Association Rankings.
Rylee Foster, a former member of the West Virginia women’s soccer team, has signed a contract to play professionally with Liverpool FC Women, a member of the Barclays FA Women’s Super League, the top tier in the national league system of women’s football in England.
Around the Big 12
Udoka Azubuike of Kansas earned his first career Big 12 Conference men’s basketball Player of the Week award, and Iowa State’s Rasir Bolton gained his second Newcomer of the Week honor. Azubuike posted back-to-back double-doubles averaging 14 points, 12.5 rebounds, and four blocks for the Jayhawks in wins over Kansas State and Tennessee.
Oklahoma State’s Vivian Gray and Iowa State’s Ashley Joens shared the Big 12 Women’s Basketball Player of the Week honor, while Kansas State’s Ayoka Lee won her seventh conference Freshman of the Week award.
Denver’s Maddie Karr and Oklahoma’s Anastasia Webb were this week’s Big 12 Co-Gymnasts of the Week. West Virginia’s Chloe Cluchey was named the conference Event Specialist of the Week, while Vanessa Deniz of Oklahoma earned Newcomer of the Week honors.
Around the NCAA
Week 13 was relatively calm, as the Baylor Bears held on to the top spot for the second straight week. Gonzaga stayed at #2, followed by Kansas, San Diego State, and Florida State to round out the top five.
With seven weeks to go until Selection Sunday, a seemingly impossible number of teams have a shot at sneaking into the field.
College basketball has not had back-to-back years with new national champions in almost two decades. That could change in a couple months.
NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter were among multiple killed in a helicopter crash Sunday near Los Angeles, California. The news shocked the basketball community and fans around the world.
Kobe Bryant wanted to take every shot and was prepared to treat every game like his last because he didn’t see any other choice in the matter. He spent hours meticulously working on the craft of basketball, notably his footwork, which was the best among any guard the league has ever seen.
The NBA had one of the most emotional nights in league history on Sunday. The news of the passing of Kobe and Gianna Bryant was confirmed shortly before the NBA began an eight-game slate.
Kobe’s incredible final game as a Los Angeles Laker endures to this day.
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