Sunday, October 23, 2016

John Flowers Hosts First Annual WVU Alumni Basketball Game

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.     There’s nothing in the world like bringing a bunch of West Virginia legends back together for some good ole’ Mountaineer style basketball.

John Flowers, from the 2010 Final Four team, did just that. As he was introduced to the crowd, he did it the only way a true Mountaineer fan could imagine: dancing.

The headband wearing, river-dancing big man put together what he hopes will be a yearly tradition for decades to come. The first annual WVU Alumni Basketball Game packed the bleachers of Morgantown High School with fans of all ages, young and old.

Some of the returning players included Flowers’ teammates from the Final Four team: Da’Sean Butler, Truck Bryant, Devin Ebanks, Joe Mazzulla, Kevin Jones and Wellington Smith.

The rest of the roster included Brad Mcmillian, Brent Solheim, Chaz Briggs, Cyrus Jones, Darryl Prue, Drew Schifino, Herbie Brooks, Jamie Smalligan, Jarrod West, J.D. Collins, Johnathan Curran, Josh Yeager, Marcus Goree, Rob Summers, Ted Talkington, and Tryone Sally. Joe Alexander was also set to appear but missed the game for unknown reasons.

Teams were picked in a “draft style” manner by team captains John Flowers of the White Team and Da’Sean Butler of the Blue Team.

Making up the Blue Team was Butler, Yeager, Brooks, Ebanks, Bryant, Summers, Collins, Talkington and Solheim. The White Team consisted of Flowers, Smallington, Kevin Jones, Mazzulla, Smith, Curran, McMillan and Cyrus Jones among others.

The White Team took home the win 133-126. The White squad had a huge lead for a majority of the game but thanks to the hot-handed Truck Bryant, the game ended closely. Bryant finished off the game with a whopping 32 points followed by Wellingon Smith with 23.

Recent West Virginia University graduate Juwan Staten showed up just before halftime and, not surprisingly, was named an assistant coach of the Blue Team as soon as he arrived. Coach Bob Huggins and current Mountaineer guard Jaysean Paige also made appearances.

Perhaps the most significant part of the Alumni Basketball Game is the fact that the proceeds go to a cause that remains near and dear to the heart of the West Virginia basketball program. The Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment Fund, Bob Huggins very own charity.

At halftime, assistant-to-the-coach Billy Hahn gave a brief speech detailing the event and thanking fans for helping raise money for the special cause. Hahn also introduced his wife, a cancer survivor, and auctioned off some autographed basketballs.

“Huggs’ is the man,” John Flowers said, as printed in the WVU Alumni Basketball Game program booklet. “Cancer has affected us all in one way or another. My grandmother is a cancer survivor and I remember everything she went through. No one should have to go through that hurt,” he said.

As the event drew to a close, each and every returning player spent time signing autographs and taking pictures with fans. John Flowers was also presented with a small trophy awarding him for his efforts to begin an event that allows former players to reconnect with West Virginia University and the Mountaineers’ one of a kind fans.



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