CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Here's the book on Morgantown High's Nathan Adrian, the reasons West Virginia coach Bob Huggins offered him a scholarship:He's 6-foot-9.He can shoot.He's good on the perimeter.Mountaineer fans who watched Adrian play in a loss to South Charleston Thursday night will have to keep that in mind, because Adrian didn't score 50 in a state tournament game like Herbie Brooks did before heading to Morgantown. He didn't score 45 like Pervires Green. Didn't hit for 43 like Jeff Schneider did before heading to Virginia Tech, or 41 like O.J. Mayo before going to USC.Adrian had 17 rebounds and 17 points, but the latter was on 6-of-20 (30 percent) shooting. He had at least five missed bunnies. It was more along the lines of a Kevin Pittsnogle showing, who struggled at the Civic Center in 2001 before heading to WVU."Bad," was how Adrian described his Thursday evening. "There's no way I can shoot 6 of 20 and expect us to win."Lingering injury?"No," Adrian said. "That's not an excuse at all."At times Adrian's evening was plain ugly, considering his height advantage on South Charleston's players. And he was 1 of 6 from 3-point range.He did flash a nice handle at times on the perimeter. And perhaps, like Pittsnogle, he'll fare better in college, playing outside against taller opponents.
But the initial impression is Adrian needs to get stronger. He needs to control his emotions. And he just might need to redshirt a year in Morgantown.nn
When it comes to state tournaments, there always seems to be a Bullett in the chamber from the Eastern Panhandle.And it seems we'll continue to hear from Don Bullett, who has been coaching Washington High, located in Charles Town. On Thursday, the Patriots won in their first state appearance in the five-year history of the school, defeating Parkersburg South's Patriots.Bullett comes from a long line of standouts from Martinsburg. His sister Vicki is in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame after starring at the University of Maryland, the Olympics and the WNBA. His brother Scott played professional baseball with the Pittsburgh and Chicago organizations. Another brother, Matt, played basketball at Glenville State, as did Don. And brother Eddie's daughter Kiana played for Martinsburg High in last week's girls event.
Anyway, expect Washington and Don Bullett to continue making future waves. The panhandle is booming economically. Jefferson High was split, sending students from Charles Town and Harpers Ferry to WHS, and both are still Class AAA schools.As for the Patriots basketball team, well, it has a chore in getting past Bullett's alma mater, Martinsburg. The Bulldogs have already beaten WHS three times this season.
Still, the Pats are in the semifinals."We're where we want to be," said the coach.nn
You want a top-flight coaching staff? Check out the one put together by Fairmont Senior's David Retton, whose team advanced in Class AA Thursday by beating Scott.Retton has veteran Frank Skubis, who was a head coach for years at Clay-Battelle in Blacksville, on his staff. He has former Marshall hooper Deon Dobbs. Oh, and if any of those have questions, Retton's father Joe is the most famous figure in the history of the soon-to-be-deceased West Virginia Conference. The elder Retton was at the game Thursday. ("That was special," said the son.)
How does it work?"They know what they're talking about," said FSHS center Shaquille Washington. "We don't talk back to them."nn
And finally . . .A tip of the ballcap to Bridgeport coach Gene Randolph, who apparently is concluding his career in style after deciding to retire.On Thursday, the sixth-seeded Class AA Indians knocked off No. 3 seed Westside 79-71, moving to the semifinals today against Fairmont."I postponed [retirement] a little bit," Randolph said. "But I can hear the call of the mountains."Randolph has always had a reputation as a class act. He bumped around the Clarksburg area, assisting at South Harrison and the old Roosevelt-Wilson high schools before settling in at Bridgeport. He's been the Indians head coach for 20 years. Overall, he's coached for 38."I'm an old codger," he said Thursday.That "old codger," though, has his team in the state tournament for the ninth time since taking over. Bridgeport's last appearance under him was in 2007, when the school lost to O.J. Mayo's Huntington team. ("That should have been handicapped," Randolph joked.)Anyway, the coach has a parcel of land at Canaan Valley. He's ready for the mountains. Not, however, until this week's job is done."I'm tired," Randolph said. "I'll be 68. I've been doing this a long time. The older you get, other things impose on your ability to do the job. But I've had a longtime love affair with basketball."It still shows.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.