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Mitch Vingle: Hoops, NFL and WVU, player odds

Mitch Vingle

Ye olde (second straight) notebook:

n In case you’re unaware, Charleston lawyer Scott Long is one of the state’s premier AAU basketball coaches.

Most of the time, you hear tidbits about the circuit in the summer. But recently Long coached his West Virginia Wildcats to a couple of impressive showings.

First, he took the 17-and-under squad to the Phenom Hoops Challenge gold division at Proehlific Park in Greensboro, N.C., and the team won the event.

The Wildcats fought through a field that included teams sponsored by NBA star Chris Paul and won the title game over the Showtime Ballers. Then, last week, during the only spring “live” week for college coaches, the Wildcats went 4-1 in the Pitt Hoop Group Jam Fest 17-and-under platinum bracket.

Among the players on Long’s team is WVU recruit Levi Cook.

“Levi played really well most of the time,” Long said.

The coach pointed to two sophomores on the team from the Mountain State who are really beginning to get noticed, South Charleston’s Brandon Knapper and Wheeling Central’s Chase Harler. Both were first-team all-state selections last season as sophomores.

“Both are tremendous,” Long said. “Both are mid-major and I’d argue high-major players.”

Knapper has already received glances from WVU and Virginia Tech. Harler, a 6-foot-3 combo guard, is getting more and more attention. Long said in one of the tournaments Harler pinned the ball at the top of the backboard box. He’s being compared to a more athletic Brett Nelson.

Long said Hedgesville’s Chris Shields is receiving interest from Arkansas (if he qualifies academically), while Wheeling Park’s Ryan Reinbeau is getting sniffs from American and Navy and Point Pleasant’s Wade Martin has “Division I potential.”

n I popped onto the NFL Draft Scout website the other day and saw something interesting. Former Marshall tight end Gator Hoskins is now listed as the No. 5 available fullback. Former teammate Garrett Scott is now the No. 10 offensive tackle.

n A while back the odds were released for the first week of college football.

As you might imagine, the spread for Alabama to defeat WVU was hefty at 23 1/2 points. Now the spread is 22 1/2.

If you’re a Mountaineer fan, though, don’t fret. Odds are set by sports bookies in an attempt to have the same amount of money wagered on both teams.

Also, bookies aren’t as brilliant as you might think when it comes to nailing the final margin of victory. A group that produces “Cold, Hard Football Facts” once examined all NFL spreads and final scores over a 70-year period.

The bookies hit or “pushed” on only 2.8 percent (311 of 11,162) of those games. When the group gave the bookies the extra half point (set to avoid pushes) either way, Las Vegas still hit on only 5.1 percent (569). They missed by more than 10 points 43 percent of the time (4,803).

Feel better?

n Last week a topic here was the highest net worth of any native West Virginia athlete. The call was Jedd Gyorko of the San Diego Padres is getting there, but has a way to go to catch Jerry West, whose worth is estimated at $55 million.

In doing the research, though, I was not surprised to find that Michael Jordan is a very wealthy man with a worth of $650 million. But I was surprised to find he’s not as wealthy as Arnold Palmer, whose worth is $675 million.

Also, Tiger Woods is up there at $500 million. But he’s not as rich as Roger Staubach, who is at $600 million.

Things that make you go hmmmm, right?

n Fact: There’s an arms race in collegiate chess.

You read correctly. A chess coach at Texas Tech, Susan Polgar, left the school when she requested — and was refused — $1 million in funding.

Webster University in St. Louis welcomed her (and her assistant coach husband) with open arms and gave her a chess budget of $635,000 a year. She took her entire team of grandmasters there. They’ve won two straight Final Four chess titles.

n As we head into summer youth sports — and you run into overzealous youth parents — here are some statistics to keep nearby.

First, know that only 2 percent of high school athletes are provided athletic scholarships annually, averaging less than $11,000 per student-athlete, according to High School Today.

Have a male basketball player? Only about .03 percent of high school players make it to the NBA. That’s point-zero-three percent.

Have a female hooper? The percentage of getting to the WNBA is worse at .02.

If your son plays football, know that 5.7 percent continue from high school to college and .08 percent eventually get drafted by an NFL team. That doesn’t say make it, it says get drafted.

The rest of the stats: Baseball 6.1 percent to college and .45 percent drafted; boys hockey 11 percent to college and .32 percent make it to the NHL; and boys soccer 5.5 percent to college and .07 percent make a Major League Soccer team.

In other words, play mostly for fun.

n And finally . . .

Back to Gyorko. His wife recently had twin boys named Brody Lindon and Kadin Timothy.

And what’s, well, doubly nice is they’ll be able to stay with the player on the road.

That’s because in Gyorko’s new $35 million contract it states he can have a suite for himself and family.

See, that’s the payoff when you’re in that .45 percent.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, or follow him at

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