This Week's Notebook
Former West Virginia All-American Kevin Jones is now on the NBA pre-draft workout circuit. The forward was one of 12 players recently brought in by the Golden State Warriors for workouts.
In Jones’ workout group were Baylor’s Anthony Jones, New Mexico State’s Wendell McKines, Stanford’s Josh Owens, Villanova’s Maalik Wayns and Washington’s Tony Wroten. The Warriors have four picks in this year’s NBA draft at No. 7, No. 30, No. 35 and No. 52. Keep in mind, former West Virginia University great Jerry West serves as a consultant for the Warriors.
Another team that might be interested in KJ is the Cleveland Cavaliers with picks at No. 3, No. 24, No. 33 and No. 34. Former Mountaineer Mike Gansey currently serves as a scout for the Cavaliers.
NBA.com expert David Aldridge lists Jones as the No. 10-rated power forward on his draft Big Board … http://www.nba.com/news/features/david_aldridge/big-board-power-forwards/index.html.
Jones averaged 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds per game as a senior for the Mountaineers and finished his career ranked among the school’s top 10 in points and rebounds.
West Virginia has had three players taken in the NBA draft since 2008 after going nine years without having a single player being picked from 1998-2007.
This year’s NBA draft will take place June 28 in Newark, N.J.
- Houston Astros relief pitcher David Carpenter’s departure to the minor leagues turned out to be a brief one. Last week, the Astros recalled Carpenter from Triple-A Oklahoma after optioning relief pitcher Enerio Del Rosario. Carpenter, once a catcher at West Virginia, is considered a possible closer for the Astros down the line. At the time he was sent down, Carpenter had allowed 21 hits and 10 walks in 15.2 innings of work.
Carpenter is currently 0-2 with a 4.02 earned run average in 14 appearances.
- Former Mountaineer Jedd Gyorko is one step closer to the majors with his mid-May call up to Triple-A Tucson. In 12 games there so far, Gyorko is hitting .286 with three home runs and eight RBI.
Gyorko, 23, has hit at every stop in the minors, batting .330 at Rookie-League Eugene in 2010, .365 at High-A Lake Elsinore in 2011 and .288 at Double-A San Antonio during the second half of 2011.
The Padres have moved Gyorko to second base to expedite his advancement. San Diego (17-33) is one of the worst offensive teams in the majors with the Padres currently 29th in runs scored, 29th in slugging percentage, 28th in batting average and 27th in on base percentage.
Padre second baseman Everth Cabrera is hitting .195.
Tucson manager Terry Kennedy believes Gyorko is capable hitting in the .290-.310 range with 15 home runs and 80 RBI in the majors.
“He knows how to hit,” Kennedy told the Arizona Daily Star recently.
The last position player from West Virginia to appear in a major league game was Scott Seabol for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005.
- The Tulsa World’s John Hoover doesn’t expect any major news to come out of this week’s Big 12 meetings in Kansas City … http://www.tulsaworld.com/sportsextra/article.aspx?subjectid=236&articleid=20120527_29_B1_THEREM379754
- West Virginia true freshman wide receiver Jordan Thompson took full advantage of his early enrollment last semester by moving up to No. 2 on the depth chart at H-receiver behind senior J.D. Woods during spring ball. Thompson led all receivers with eight catches for 66 yards and a touchdown in April’s Gold-Blue Spring Game.
Offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson says the decision to redshirt Thompson – or any other freshman for that matter – won’t be made until the season starts.
“He’s No. 2 right now at his position, but we don’t talk about redshirting until the day of the first game and really don’t even talk about it then,” Dawson said after this year’s spring game. “If it goes three or four games into the year and you haven’t played then you are probably going to redshirt. Even the incoming freshman, our mindset is they need to play and if it turns out that they don’t play, or they’re not ready, then we’ll redshirt them.”
What impresses Dawson the most about Thompson is his consistency – a rare trait for freshmen.
“The kid is just a steady football player and he’s real smart. He’ll make a mistake one time and then he’s not going to make it again,” Dawson said. “The kid comes from a great program. You can tell he’s been coached well. He knows football. He knows spacing and you tell him one time and he’s going to do it.”
Dawson believes the biggest thing this year’s offense has to guard against is complacency.
“I’ve always heard that success and failure slow you down. The bottom line is when you have success you start thinking complacently - this is easy,” Dawson explained. “You’re not playing at your top peak and then you start having a lull. Also, when you are playing bad then you can press. Ultimately, you want to compete right there in the middle. Just keep steady - keep doing your job and just forge ahead.”
- It’s not too early to begin making your travel plans for this fall’s inaugural Big 12 season. The WVU Alumni Association is already making arrangements for this year’s trip to Austin, Texas on Oct. 6. Go to the website http://www.wvusportstravel.com for more details.
- I discovered an interesting tidbit of information from ESPN Insider’s look at West Virginia’s national title chances for 2012 (http://insider.espn.go.com/college-football/story/_/id/7974915/west-virginia-mountaineers-chances-win-bcs-title-2012-ncf) ...The Big 12 Conference is experiencing a number of key offensive personnel losses in 2012. Oklahoma State has lost quarterback Brandon Weedon and wide receiver Justin Blackmon, Baylor is without Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III and his top wide receiver Kendall Wright, and Oklahoma is missing top receiver Ryan Broyles as well as other key receivers currently serving disciplinary suspensions. Also, two of the top offensive schools in the Big 12, Missouri and Texas A&M, are no longer in the conference.
Usually known for its passing and wide-open offenses, the Big 12 could become more of a ground-oriented league this fall with Texas, TCU, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State each boasting potentially powerful rushing attacks.
It will be interesting to see how West Virginia’s run-stoppers hold up against those teams. Last year, the Mountaineers gave up an average of 144.8 yards per game on the ground, including an alarming 4.0 yards-per-carry rushing average.
- Even though TCU has been experiencing some off-season turmoil, don’t sell the Horned Frogs short in 2012 just yet. Coach Gary Patterson is one of the best in the business who prepares harder than anyone. Here are Patterson’s yearly records since 2008: 11-2, 12-1, 13-0 and 11-2. Patterson’s 12-year record at TCU, which includes one game in 2000, is an unbelievable 109-30.
- Here is an updated list of West Virginia’s Olympic qualifiers – all of them in rifle so far: Nicco Campriani (Italy), Petra Zublasing (Italy), Eric Uptagraft (USA) as well as Dave Johnson (USA coach).
Several track and field performers are also still in contention to qualify for the Olympics, including Megan Metcalfe, Jessica O’Connell, Kate Harrison and Sara Brault for Canada, and Chelsea Carrier-Eades, Karly Hamric and Josh Simpson for USA.
Additionally, women’s soccer’s Bry McCarthy is still in camp trying to make the Canadian Olympic team roster.
- Finally, West Virginia swimming and diving coach Vic Riggs said his sport may be undergoing some changes in the near future. College coaches are considering new criteria for NCAA qualifiers that could change the way relays will qualify for the national championships.
Currently, entire relays make the national meet based on times, meaning not all of the best swimmers in the country are competing at the national championships. A new measure being proposed by the coaches is to limit all relays at nationals to only those who qualify for the meet.
“There are some inconsistencies in how athletes earn a trip to NCAAs,” Riggs said. “It’s a plus and minus for (West Virginia’s program). This year our women benefitted through a relay and were able to gain some valuable experience. On the negative side, if the new proposal was in place (senior men’s swimmer) Taylor Camp would have made the meet.
“What we’re trying to do in our sport is get the best kids to the meet,” Riggs explained. “If that means we are only going to take certain individuals and then relays are picked out of that then our challenge gets a little bit harder, but we’ll adapt and move forward.”
Riggs said he is in favor of having the best swimmers qualify for nationals, even if that means the strongest programs in the country will be the biggest beneficiaries.
“They are going to continue to have more kids qualify so they are always going to have relays, but in my world we only scored two points off of our relay where we scored 20 points total, I believe,” Riggs said. “So 18 points came from our individuals. We’ll stay focused on trying to get our kids to the meet and then hopefully that will grow.”
If this measure passes, Riggs doesn’t expect it to take effect until the ’14-15 campaign.
Have a great week!
United Bank Playbook
Coppin State Highlights
Coppin State Postgame Reaction
Loyola Postgame Player Reaction
Bob Huggins: Loyola Postgame