Jaren Marino (15) and Eddie Gordon (11, back left) are two South Charleston High School graduates who play at WVU Tech.
MONTGOMERY, W.Va. - Somewhere along the line, South Charleston High became a feeder school for WVU Tech.How else do you explain the recent success the Golden Bears have had luring SC athletes to their men's basketball program?Tech sports four former Black Eagles on its roster, including two starters - 6-foot-1 junior wing Jaren Marino and 5-9 freshman point guard Ra'Shaud Kincaid.Also playing for the Golden Bears most nights are 5-5 junior point guard Eddie Gordon and 6-4 freshman forward Hunter Moles. Moles doubles as a goalkeeper for Tech's soccer team."They've got a great program,'' Tech coach Bob Williams said of South Charleston High School."They've had Bobby Dawson and Vic Hebert, so that's great coaching, and they've got great kids and great students over there. Ra'Shaud and Jaren are in engineering. They're good players, they're smart. They know how to play.''
Williams said Tech's connection with SC players has worked so well that the Golden Bears moved one of their home games to the Black Eagles' backyard. Tech plays Bluefield College (Va.) at 7 p.m. on Jan. 4 at the South Charleston Community Center."They play hard,'' Williams said of the SC grads. "They've been taught defense, they've been taught how to work and they're coachable. We've had some success over the years - not just with those four - but with players like Jeraude Lowe and Ronnie Means."Ten of our 15 kids are out of West Virginia. We give local kids a chance to come in here, work hard and develop, be part of a team. And we play a lot of kids, so it gives them a chance to get on the court. Sometimes, they might be complementary players, but you've got to have those guys to be a good team.''Other state high school products on the Tech roster are 6-1 senior Brandon Burgraff (Matewan), 5-11 sophomore Hunter Lambert (Lincoln County), 6-1 sophomore Joe Saunders (George Washington), 5-7 sophomore Cam Powell (Winfield), 6-3 freshman Nathan McNeil (St. Albans) and 6-1 freshman Antoine Calloway (Mount View)."When you win,'' Williams said, "you have a chance to get a higher level of player in West Virginia, and we try to mix it with some good transfers out of state. It's a good formula.''Reach Rick Ryan at 304-348-5175 or email@example.com.