In less than 36 hours, former WVU forward John Flowers will be leading Best Virginia—a West Virginia basketball alumni team—in Charleston, West Virginia, to compete in The Basketball Tournament.
It all started with a vision that Flowers had six years ago in 2015.
“I started a company about six years ago,” Flowers said. “We just started bringing the West Virginia alumni basketball games to West Virginia. We just want to bring some enjoyment to the people of West Virginia and give them entertainment. So, I started ‘J Flow Entertainment.’”
Flowers—a member of the loved final four team from 2010—shows a sense of pride for the WVU basketball program like no other. Even 11 years after being a part of one of the greatest teams in school history, Flowers is honored to be recognized as one of the contributing pieces.
“It means a lot. I mean, thanks to Da’Sean Butler, we were able to make a long run in the tournament and have a great year. We were able to win the Big East tournament and make school history. It means a lot,” Flowers said. “I love the fans at West Virginia. I love them as much as they love me, so just to be able to have that love in that state is great.”
Since graduating from WVU, Flowers has gone on to travel all around the world and play in many countries such as Japan, France, Germany, Venezuela, Mexico, and Argentina. While adapting to life in a new country can be exciting, there also are many challenges to overcome while playing overseas.
“It was a culture shock. My first year I went to Japan and it’s the total opposite of what [time] it is in American eastern time. So, 1 a.m. in America is like 1 p.m. in Japan,” Flowers said. “Speaking around the language barrier to get around talking to people, ordering food—little stuff like that—you’re really on your own.”
This past year, Flowers played in France for Boulazac, averaging 13.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in 30 games. The Maryland native reflected on the past 10 years of playing international ball.
“It’s a blessing to be able to travel and do what I love to do for a living, learn the different walks of life,” Flowers said. “[To] be able to play basketball for a living, make good money and provide for my family; it’s just been a blessing.”
Flowers—the general manager of Best Virginia—has put in countless hours and effort into organizing the West Virginia alumni team. Best Virginia competed in TBT in 2019, advancing to the second round. Flowers has been able to take that experience from a couple of years ago and add some additions to the roster. Chase Harler, Jonathon Holton, Sagaba Konate, Teyvon Myers, Tarik Phillip, Logan Routt and Alex Ruoff are the new members of Best Virginia that Flowers was successfully able to recruit. The diversity in eras of West Virginia basketball is exactly what Flowers wants to accomplish in bringing the alumni together.
Flowers—alongside 12 other Mountaineer brothers—will compete for a share of $1 million by winning the 2021 TBT. No matter what the result is, Flowers wants the West Virginia faithful to know how much they mean to the guys.
“I just want to say first and foremost, I just thank the fans of West Virginia for showing their love to the West Virginia alumni,” Flowers said. “Some of these guys came from nothing, come from the ghettos and the hood, the projects, and to be able to come back home and received the love from you guys, it means more than you know.”
(Top Photo: Dave Ryan)
Catch Flowers and Best Virginia, as they begin the first round of the West Virginia regional in Charleston, West Virginia, on Saturday. The Mountaineer alumni will take on No. 15 seed WoCo Showtime—Wofford’s alumni team.
The game is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. on ESPN.