In the hills of West Virginia you will find hard working people that may not come from much, people that come into work early and leave late to do the best they can to provide for their family. You will find people who are truly passionate about where they come from and will let you know about it. When you think of West Virginia University, you don’ think of some blue-blood basketball program that is favored to be a Final Four contender every year, in fact it’s quite the opposite as you already know. The Mountaineers are often overlooked and perceived as the underdogs that don’t stand a chance of winning the ultimate prize, no one looks at West Virginia like they would a program such as North Carolina, UCLA, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky or Indiana and we love it.
In the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois you will find a hard working, under recruited, unnoticed, tough, gritty, passionate point guard named Jevon Carter. If this sounds word for word from the first paragraph, it just goes to show you how perfect of a match West Virginia University and Jevon Carter are. He loved the state and the people in the state loved him back as if he were one of their own.
You can take a glance across the country and it will be hard to find another university where the fan base loves the school as much as Mountaineer fans do and in return have the players feel that passion and become in love with the state. Not every player that comes to Morgantown will buy into what Coach Huggins’ system or coaching philosophy and not every player will “fall in love” with the state, but that is not the case for Jevon. You could see the range of emotions run across his face in the post game press conference in the Sweet Sixteen loss to Villanova. I can’t speak for Jevon, but when I watched that press conference, i got the feeling that he wasn’t just upset he lost the game. He was upset that he did not bring a national championship back to Morgantown and he knew he would never put that jersey back on again. It seemed like he felt he let down the entire state, when really he made the entire state so damn proud.
Over the last four years, Jevon Carter has helped the Mountaineer program rise from the ashes by appearing in three Sweet Sixteen’s, three consecutive Big XII championship games, finished no lower than 4th in the conference, 57 consecutive weeks being ranked in the AP Top 25 poll and recorded four straight 25+ win seasons. In that time, Carter has also won multiple awards such as being named a member of the First Team All-Big 12 Defense all four years, was twice named NABC national defensive player of the year, named the inaugural winner of the Naismith national defensive player of the year award.
Not to mention he is the only player in a major conference to finish a career with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals. He created a category of his own in college basketball, which is remarkable considering how many schools passed on him. He finished 8th on the all time scoring list with 1,758 points passing a guy by the name of Kevin Pittsnogle. Finished 4th all time in made three’s with 241, 2nd all time in assists with 559, tied for 2nd in wins with 105 and shattered the all time steals record with 330 steals
Many folks forget where the program was the two year before Carter arrived. In 2012-13 the team finished with a 13-19 (6-12) record, then made an NIT appearance the following year going 19-14 (9-9). Carter was not alone bringing some prestige to the program, but he was the heart, soul and face of West Virginia basketball. Not one power five school offered him other than West Virginia, yet every coach in America wishes they had a team full of Jevon Carter’s. Carter exudes leadership that is hard to match, one game I look at was this year in the Advocare Invitational when the Mountaineers trailed Missouri by as many as 18 points with about 8 minutes to go. Carter would just not let the team lose. He did everything in his power to make sure the team came away from Orlando with some hardware and at that, he did.
I’ll revert back to what I said earlier, he absolutely loved this state and the state loves him back. Jevon Carter may not be the face of West Virginia basketball’s program, but he will always be the face of Press Virginia. West Virginia will always be his 2nd home and the great people in the state of West Virginia will welcome him back with open arms. He spent countless hours in the gym even before and after games, “You hear about some kids being in the gym 20 minutes before the game, he’s in there an hour and a half before the game starts getting shots up.” Bob Huggins said.
Following the Sweet Sixteen loss to Villanova Coach Huggins said, “They are going to go down as probably, well not probably, the best four year back court in the history of West Virginia basketball and that’ saying a lot. I’ve never had one complaint about either one of them, I’ve never had one issue with either one of them. They’re great people.” speaking about Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr.
So yes, Jevon Carter may not meet the “criteria” set by the university for a jersey to be retired, but I think I speak for all of Mountaineer nation and those who follow West Virginia basketball closely that he has done more than enough. He has laid the foundation for Mountaineer basketball and for that, he cannot be thanked enough.
So, Mr. Shane Lyons, how about we make an exception and hang that No.2 in the rafters of the WVU Coliseum?