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Mitch Vingle: News from Motown, AAU circuit and lingerie football

Mitch Vingle

While still mourning the loss of comic hero Archie, who was fatally shot ...

n Thankfully for sports writers in the Mountain State, an endless stream of news flows from Morgantown — even in the summer.

In regard to recent WVU football news, there’s been a gain and a probable loss, both involving athletes from Eastern Christian Academy in Elkton, Md. One former Honey Badger (yes, they are indeed the Honey Badgers), quarterback David Sill, has committed to join the Mountaineers. He made a name by committing to Southern Cal and then-Trojan coach Lane Kiffin as a seventh grader. As is often the case, though, much changes. A one-time wunderkind, Sills, 6-foot-4, 190 pounds, is now rated the nation’s No. 35 QB in the 2015 class.

Of course the probable subtraction to the WVU team is Wendell Smallwood, who is charged with witness intimidation in a murder case. He was extradited to Delaware on Thursday. It’s a serious charge with not a good outlook.

Then there is this tidbit. Whispers around Morgantown in the recent past had it that big man Kevin Noreen might become a basketball graduate assistant, allowing Bob Huggins an open scholarship.

Well, Huggins on Wednesday confirmed that was discussed, but that Noreen, a 6-10 senior, decided against the idea and will play this coming season.


The coach said Noreen has undergone surgery not once, but three times since the end of last season. One, according to Huggins, was on the player’s wrist, one was over a sports hernia and one had to do with backside muscles. The coach said Noreen wouldn’t get stitches taken out from the latter until today and could be rehabilitating for five to six months.

In other words, Huggins probably will be without his full complement of bullets heading into the season. All of his players, though, will be in Morgantown this weekend, according to the coach, and all, he said, are eligible. Keep in mind, however, Nate Adrian is recovering from an illness. Also, Elijah Macon is recovering from a concussion.

n I touched base with West Virginia Wildcat Select AAU coach Scott Long the other day about a few state hoops standouts.

“[Wheeling Central’s] Chase [Harler] and [South Charleston’s] Brandon [Knapper] are off to great starts,” Long said of the summer season. “We’ve completed one of three live events. Both are playing up on the 17-and-unders. The first tournament was in Myrtle Beach and five of our players — Chase, Brandon, [WVU commitment] Levi Cook, [Point Pleasant’s] Wade Martin and Ramses Sandifer — were asked to play in an all-star camp preceding the tournament. Harler was named MVP of the camp.”

Harler led the team in scoring. Knapper was one of the leading scorers.

“Tons of interest in both,” Long said. “WVU and Marshall are well aware of them. I’ve also heard from schools like Virginia and North Carolina State.”

The Select team plays this weekend in Cincinnati and ends the swing next weekend in Richmond, Va.

n Yes, Tyrann Mathieu should have gone to Eastern Christian Academy.

n In case you’re unaware, WVU-Alabama isn’t the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. It’s one of the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games. There are two. Boise State and Ole Miss play on Thursday, Aug. 28, while the Mountaineers and Tide play Aug. 30.

n One of the voters on this season’s FWAA-NFF Grantland Rice Super 16 football poll is none other than Jack Lengyel, who took over Marshall’s football team following the tragic 1970 plane crash.

n WVU’s basketball participation in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic this coming season should serve the team well as newcomers like Jonathan Holton, Jevon Carter, Tarik Phillip and Billydee Williams try to congeal with Juwan Staten and Devin Williams. As a possible indicator of success, though, check out the Mountaineers’ home game with LSU as part of the SEC-Big 12 Challenge. The Tigers have a veteran team returning and were 20-14 last season.

n Yes, LSU is where Mathieu went.

n A thought-provoking reader wrote in regarding my Wednesday column on WVU’s football season ticket sales.

He said neutral field matchups, like the recently announced one involving the Mountaineers and Virginia Tech at FedEx Field, are nice, but make it tougher on fans to attend. Also, he pointed to problems with the way the schedule is released.

“The home schedule has six games,” said the reader. “Of those six, only two have the times set: Towson at 7:30 on a Saturday [Sept. 6] and Kansas at 7 on a Thursday [Oct. 4]. The first is not an attractive game, especially for a Saturday night. The second is on a weeknight that makes it difficult for fans that must travel several hours. Of the four remaining games, the times are [to be determined]. You’re asked to buy a season ticket not knowing whether they will be at noon, 1, 3:30 or at night. And you may not know until the Sunday or Monday [the week] before the game when the TV networks decide what time they want it.”

Valid point.

n The new catchphrase in hoops seems to be “We’ll be fine.” Of course, WVU’s Huggins has used that in the past couple of years. Then, after NBA player Trevor Ariza signed with Houston, rather than Washington, Wizard officials used the phrase as well.

While on the subject, you may or may not know Paul Pierce signed with the Wizards. He tweeted the news out by saying, “[President] Obama, [John] Wall here I come.”

Ditto obscurity.

n Huggins told me this week he has recovered enough from hip replacement surgery to travel and indeed was recruiting down south throughout the week. “We’re in an open [recruiting] window,” he said. “Going to recruit some Kentucky-like players.”

n And finally ...

I saw a clip of the Atlanta Steam’s Dane Robinson get so mad coaching a lingerie football game that he pushed a, well, player before violently tossing a chair.

Um, bro, relax.

This is one time you don’t have to climb the mountain to enjoy the view.

Reach Mitch Vingle at, 304-348-4827 or follow @MitchVingle on Twitter.

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