Morgantown, WV – Players come and players go, but at West Virginia, players never leave the memories of Mountaineer fans, especially Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr.
When you think of West Virginia basketball over the last four years, those are the most recognizable players that come to mind.
And for good reason.
West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has transformed this program into one of the nation’s best and certainly one of the Big 12 Conference’s best in just a short matter of time. Daxter Miles Jr. from time to time can get lost in all of the attention that Jevon Carter receives, but he himself is a solid on-ball defender. In all honesty, he may be a better on-ball defender than Carter, whereas Carter is extremely good defending off the ball and preventing the playmakers to create buckets.
There is no doubt that we have seen some extremely talented players over the years such as the greats of Jerry West and “Hot Rod” Hundley and more recently Kevin Pittsnogle, Mike Gansey, Joe Alexander and Da’Sean Butler. Whether you believe Jevon Carter deserves to be mentioned among those greats is up to you, but I think I speak for all when I say that his legacy will never be forgotten.
They may not be the greatest players to ever put on the Mountaineer uniform, but they have helped change the direction of the program and how it is viewed nationwide. The two previous seasons upon their arrival the Mountaineers had a losing season and then the following year an appearance in the NIT. The team is currently five wins away from having four consecutive 25+ win seasons under the leadership of Carter and Miles.
Daxter Miles eclipsed 1,000 career points earlier in the season while Jevon Carter created his own list in major college basketball on Saturday night vs Iowa State becoming the only member of the 1,500+ points 500+ assists 500+ rebounds and 300+ steals. Carter has been named to three straight All-Big 12 Defensive teams and is aiming to be the first player in Big 12 history to make that list in all four years.
Not enough can be said about these two very special players, the heart and dedication they have for this team and state cannot be matched. We saw that last year following the Sweet 16 loss to Gonzaga as Jevon Carter told his mother he was not going to take a day off after the loss because “Gonzaga is still playing and we’re not.” You can even rewind as far back to their freshman year when Daxter Miles exuberated his confidence prior to the Sweet 16 matchup with undefeated Kentucky saying they would be 38-1 following the game.
Or most recently, the heartbreaking loss at Kansas a couple of weeks ago where the Mountaineers seemed to have had the game won despite the shocking free throw disparity. As the game was ending, you could see the emotions flow through Miles’ as he was holding back tears in the final seconds before letting them go just outside the locker room. These guys aren’t playing for themselves, they’re playing for their coach, teammates, and fans. You have that sense that they understand they are playing for an entire state and that state has their back every step of the way.
Expect the WVU Coliseum to house a wide range of emotions tonight, from tears of the senior night ceremony from everyone in the building (including Coach Huggins) and a loud roar from the crowd thanking the two for their production and dedication over the years and then, of course, the game. It just seems fitting that these two have a tremendous game and come out with the victory. Obviously, much more is in the running with a Big 12 tournament and NCAA Tournament on the horizon, but a win on a senior night is a perfect ending to two storied careers.