West Virginia is not a big NBA state. Since we don’t have an NBA team, we focus our attention on college basketball in the winter months.
However, we do have some local ties to the NBA.
Former WVU guard Jevon Carter is getting significant playing time with the Phoenix Suns. Carter is backing up veteran Ricky Rubio as the Suns point guard and is averaging 22 minutes per game. In the first five games, he is averaging 8.0 points and 3.2 assists.
Many in our state may not realize that former Huntington High center Patrick Patterson has started all six games for the Los Angeles Clippers, who are picked by some to win the NBA championship. In six games. Patterson is averaging 5.8 points and 4.7 rebounds while playing 24.7 minutes per game. He scored 20 points in the team’s much-hyped season-opening win against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Patterson was a dominant high school player in our state, winning three Class AAA state championships at Huntington in three years from 2005-2007.
n Marshall football played at Rice Saturday. I can only remember one Kanawha County athlete who committed to play at Rice.
Former Stonewall Jackson High School star Raymond McClure played football there for one season before transferring to WVU as a student. McClure graduated from Stonewall in 1972 after playing with Ron McCartney, Oscar Jones, Rick Boley and others on the west side.
n Last week was a special one for former Marshall baseball coach Jack Cook as the university unveiled plans for a new stadium. The facility will help continue the growth of college baseball in our state and will be a game changer for baseball in the southern part of the state. Much of the stadium area will be a tribute Cook’s legacy.
Now in his 90s, Cook’s mind and memory are amazingly sharp. This past week he went to Pittsburgh for a medical procedure. It brought back memories for him of a trip he took to Pittsburgh back in the 1940s. While there, he went to a Negro League game to see legendary catcher Josh Gibson. Gibson, who was called “The black Babe Ruth,” hit a 400-foot home run to the deepest part of Forbes Field.
When you spend time with Cook, he rattles off story after story of baseball memories. He is a walking area baseball history book. He is beloved by his former players and respected by all who know him.
Last week, Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench seemed honored to be in Cook’s presence.
n Most fans in our state know that Mullens native Mike D’Antoni is the head coach of the NBA’s Houston Rockets and his brother Dan D’Antoni is Marshall’s men’s hoopa coach.
Now there is another D’Antoni making a name for himself. Last Saturday, at Marshall’s homecoming, St. Albans native Parker D’Antoni was named Mr. Marshall.
Parker D’Antoni played basketball and baseball at Teays Valley Christian School and is the son of Charleston attorney Mark D’Antoni.