By John Antonik for MSNsportsNET.com
October 13, 2009
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The general public will get their first look at the 2009-10 West Virginia University men’s and women’s basketball teams on Friday evening when the two take part in Mountaineer Madness, sponsored by Coke Zero.
The event will get underway at 6:30 p.m. on the Coliseum concourse with a team autograph session at the Green and Gold gates during the West Virginia-DePaul volleyball match.
“Our hope is people will come early, get some autographs, and then go in and watch some of the volleyball game,” said Jerrod Calhoun, director of men's basketball operations.
Activities on the floor will begin at 8:30 p.m. The men’s and women’s teams will be introduced along with special messages on the video board, followed by comments from coaches Bob Huggins and Mike Carey.
The men will have a slam dunk contest with celebrity judges presiding. After that, the teams will scrimmage for approximately 10 minutes each.
Former players such as Kevin Pittsnogle, Lester Rowe, Jarrod West, Maurice Robinson, Brent Solheim and Josh Yeager have been invited back to campus and will take part in an alumni free throw shooting contest.
“We are going to introduce them and have them walk out on the carpet,” said Calhoun. “We want to get our former players back on campus.”
On Friday, the men’s team will unveil a new uniform that will give it four different combinations for this season.
The men, predicted by some to win the Big East Conference this year, is a likely preseason Top 10 team when the polls come out in early November.
West Virginia has four of five starters returning from last year’s NCAA tournament team, including 6-9, 210-pound sophomore forward Devin Ebanks and 6-7, 225-pound senior forward Da’Sean Butler, who some have labeled among the best forward tandems in the country.
The Mountaineers also welcome a touted recruiting class that includes a pair of bigs in 6-foot-9, 260-pound freshman Deniz Kilici from Istanbul, Turkey, and 6-foot-8, 265-pound freshman Danny Jennings from Staten Island, N.Y.
Casey Mitchell, a 6-foot-4, 220-pound shooter from Savannah, Ga., was the top junior college player in the country in 2009.
For the women, Carey has key players Liz Repella and Sarah Miles returning from last year’s team that earned a spot in the WNIT.
The ninth-year coach will also have the services of touted transfers Korinne Campbell and Madina Ali, while also welcoming one of the top recruits in the country in 6-foot-4 center Asya Bussie from Randallstown, Md.
A free webcast of the event will be provided on MountaineerTV though MSNsportsNET.com.
The event is free to the general public.
The preseason Big East poll, preseason player and rookie of the year, and the preseason all-conference teams will be announced next Wednesday in New York City during Big East media day. The women’s media poll and preseason teams will be unveiled next Thursday - also in New York City.
West Virginia’s first preseason exhibition will take place on Sunday, Nov. 8, when the Mountaineers take on Mountain State. The women will also face Glenville State in an exhibition game that same day.
The women began the regular season on Nov. 13 against Towson in the opening round of the preseason NIT. The WNIT runs through Nov. 22 with the championship game.
The men’s regular season gets underway on Sunday, Nov. 15 at the WVU Coliseum against Loyola, Maryland.
The deadline to renew men’s basketball season tickets is Friday, Oct. 16. Women’s season tickets are also on sale and can be purchased online through WVUGAME.com.
Former WVU basketball player Tim “Catfish” McNeely yesterday was named tournament director of The Greenbrier Classic, a Professional Golfers Association TOUR event coming to West Virginia for the first time in 2010.
McNeely has professional golf tournament experience, spearheading the PGA TOUR’s Nationwide Tour to West Virginia for the Pete Dye Classic in 2004.
The Logan Country native appeared in 32 games for the Mountaineers from 1989-92.