Monday, August 21, 2017

West Virginia Men’s Alumni Game returns for second year

John Flowers poses with a statue he was given as a token of appreciation after the 2015 WV Men's Basketball Alumni Game. (Photo Credit: Sean McNamara)

John Flowers poses with a statue he was given as a token of appreciation after the 2015 WV Men’s Basketball Alumni Game.
(Photo Credit: Sean McNamara)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.– Last summer John Flowers put on the first annual West Virginia Men’s Basketball Game and this year the former Mountaineer decided to get the boys back for another go.

“We are trying to make it bigger and better this year,” Flowers said. “We are expecting a good turnout. It’s going to be fun. It gives players a chance to come in here and give back.

The game is on July 30 at Morgantown High School at 7 p.m. and features lots of former WVU fan favorites, including Darris Nichols, Mike Gansey, Jaysean Paige, Gary Browne, Juwan Staten, Devin Williams, Da’Sean Butler, Truck Bryant and others from the Sweet 16 and Final Four teams.

This year the proceeds go to a charity called Conquer Chiari, an organization dedicated to improving the experiences and outcomes of Chiari, a serious neurological disease where the bottom part of the brain, the cerebellum, descends out of the skull and crowds the spinal cord, putting pressure on both the brain and spine and causing many symptoms.

Joe Mazzulla attempts a finger roll layup against the Blue Team at the Saturday's Alumni Basketball Game. (Photo Credit: Askar Salikhov- The Daily Athenaeum)

Joe Mazzulla attempts a finger roll layup against the Blue Team at the Saturday’s Alumni Basketball Game.
(Photo Credit: Askar Salikhov- The Daily Athenaeum)

For Flowers the alumni game became a way to get together with his basketball buddies and give back to others.

“Me and Da’Sean Butler wondered why no one ever did this before, the 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward said. “Me and the guys were talking about the good times that we all had here and we just all wanted to do it again. A lot of us live in Morgantown. So why not do something productive for ourselves and reach out to the community as well.”

Last summer’s game was a huge success for the players, fans and the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment, which is the Mountaineers’ basketball head coach Bob Huggins’ charity in honor of his late mother.

Former WVU Men’s Basketball player John Flowers presents John Naim, Ph.D., director of the WVU Cancer Center's Clinical Trials Research Unit, with a $6,100 check from the Inaugural WVU Men’s Alumni Basketball Game. (Photo Credit:  wvucancer.org)

Former WVU Men’s Basketball player John Flowers presents John Naim, Ph.D., director of the WVU Cancer Center’s Clinical Trials Research Unit, with a $6,100 check from the Inaugural WVU Men’s Alumni Basketball Game.
(Photo Credit: wvucancer.org)

“Last year we raised $6,000 for Coach Huggins’ Norma Mae Huggins Foundation so hopefully we can raise a large amount this year,” Flowers added.

While this is just the second year for the alumni game, the former WVU fan favorite is hoping this will be a tradition for years to come.

“It’s really hard to put together and stuff like that but I enjoy it and I enjoy getting together,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep it going and get a lot bigger and better each year. Hopefully we can get the university involved at some point so it can get a lot easier to line up.”

Tickets for the game are available online at www.jflowent.com for $15. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $20.
For fans hoping to get closer to the players, Flowers will also be hosting a special evening with the players the night before.

“Everyone come out to the alumni game for a good cause and come have fun,” Flowers said.

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