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Mitch Vingle: Recruiting news, Big 12, Harris and boxing

Ye OLDE notebook:

n In the last couple of weeks I’ve brought you recruiting updates concerning state and local athletes.

Today, I bring a couple more.

First, Marshall basketball coach Dan D’Antoni has continued mining the state for young talent. Before dismissing guard Chris Thomas on Tuesday, D’Antoni made an offer to Poca High rising sophomore Luke Frampton.

“He did offer Luke over this last weekend,” said PHS coach Allen Osborne. “I think he’ll also offer [fellow rising sophomore] Elijah [Cuffee] by the end of the summer.”

MU has already signed Hedgesville’s C.J. Burks as a prop. In addition, D’Antoni offered South Charleston’s Brandon Knapper and Wheeling Central’s Chase Harler before Frampton.

Also, I confirmed reports that Capital High quarterback Tyrhee Pratt has indeed been offered a football scholarship by West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.

“I took him to [WVU’s] camp on Sunday,” said Capital coach Jon Carpenter. “I drove him up there and Holgorsen and [defensive coordinator] Tony Gibson said they had an offer for him. They talked to him at the beginning and end of camp.

“He’s been invited to several one-day camps. That was his first. Charlotte is next and then Tennessee, Kentucky and Ohio State.”

n A report in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper said Brigham Young has interest in joining the Big 12.

“We would love to be in the Big 12,” said Cougar football coach Bronco Mendenhall. “I would love to be a member of that conference. I think that would make a lot of sense.”

Perhaps it would. The school does own the Salt Lake City and Utah television markets. Mormons worldwide follow the program.

Big 12 members, however, would have to run the numbers to see if such a move makes financial sense. They’d have to approach Fox and ESPN and ask if that addition would add dollars to each schools’ share.

If not, there’s little incentive to move away from the round-robin football setup and home-and-home basketball setup.

n Count WVU athletic director Oliver Luck among those who consider the Mountaineer athletic department self-sufficent. A recent USA Today study placed the school No. 33 nationally in terms of athletic revenue at $77.7 million with expenditures of $73.5 million. It also, though, said the program had a 5.74 percent subsidy. The only schools with no subsidies were Texas, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, Penn State, Nebraska and Purdue.

“If you’re fair, we receive $100,000 from the legislature for the rifle team,” Luck said. “We get about $4.1 million from student fees for access to football, basketball sporting events ... I think it’s reasonable for students to pay student fees.”

| Luck recently hired a new wrestling coach in Sammie Henson.

Well, while doing research on possible candidates, I came across the name of former Craig Turnbull assistant Zeke Jones. Those in the sport know Jones was a very accomplished wrestler as well as an Olympic head coach.

In case you missed it, he was hired shortly before Henson as the new Arizona State head coach.

n RIP to former Dunbar Junior High coach Joe Beavers, who passed away recently at the age of 80.

Beavers was a very successful coach in football, basketball and track and had a terrific influence on area kids.

“Joe Beavers was beloved by all the students,” wrote Huntington’s David Skeen to this desk. “Personally, he was a tremendous influence on my development as an athlete and a person. His inspirational talks before games was surely a large part of the success of the teams.”

n In a Tuesday column I mentioned that former WVU basketball guard Eron Harris has decided he’ll transfer to Michigan State.

What I found fascinating is Harris repeatedly indicated he wasn’t a fan of Bob Huggins’ methods at WVU. His father told the Associated Press “the coaching staff there just didn’t fit Eron.” Also, in an interview with the Indianapolis Star, the player said his experience at WVU “was unique and I think my teammates would agree.

“You have to grow up a lot to play at West Virginia,” he continued. “You’re in a position where you have to get stronger mentally and physically.”

Apparently, though, Harris did just that under Huggins. Check out another May 8 quote from the guard.

“There were times on the court at West Virginia where I couldn’t even believe what I was doing,” he said. “I remember [in high school] I was applying for schools as a student as a junior. I was in the house and my dad was outside working on the car in the driveway when I found out I got my first offer from Southern Illinois-Edwardsville. I was so excited to get a full-ride offer.”

Now Harris is moving to Michigan State. He had offers from all over.

Give the kid credit. But he can also thank Huggins and his staff for help with the development.

n Newly retired West Virginia State baseball coach Cal Bailey was undoubtedly one of the most beloved figures in Kanawha Valley history. His success and way with student-athletes are legendary.

What I always loved, though, was a tidbit in his Yellow Jacket bio. In addition to all his teams’ victories, it was duly noted that he was also the 2002 Kanawha County Farmer of the Year.

Gotta love the guy.

n And finally ...

Consider this a welcome to the USA Boxing Junior Olympic National Championship contenders, who are fighting this week at Charleston’s Civic Center.

A special shoutout goes to 15-year old “Bazooka” Joe Veazey, who already has 75 to 80 amateur fights under his belt. He was born in Charleston and lived in Nitro for a while before moving to Baltimore.

Action will be going on at the Civic Center all week. And if you need a rooting interest, well, it doesn’t get much better than a Charleston product named “Bazooka” Joe.

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

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