Sunday, August 18, 2019

WVU Baketball Alumni tour ends in Hedgesville

Hedgesville – The WVU Basketball Alumni Tour ended Saturday night in the gymnasium of Hedgesville High School with a special announcement from organizer John Flowers.

Best Virginia, made up of WVU alumni from Press Virginia and Final Four teams, played Local Legends, made up of former Eastern Panhandle high school basketball players, in preparation for Best Virginia’s entry into ESPN’s The Basketball Tournament.

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Juwan Staten dunks the ball Friday night during the Best Virginia exhibition game.

Saturday’s exhibition game in Martinsburg came after five successful alumni games in Fairmont. The team also made a stop in Beckley.

WVU alumni players Friday included Devin Williams, 2014-16; Elijah Macon 2014-17; Jaysean Paige, 2015-16; John Flowers, 2007-11; Juwan Staten, 2013-15; Kevin Jones, 2009-12; Nathan Adrian, 2014-17; and Truck Bryant, 2009-12. Also listed in the program are Da’Sean Butler, 2007-10; Joe Alexander, 2006-8; and Tarik Phillip, 2015-17.

The alumni team is coached by Jarrod West and assistant coaches by Billy Hahn, David Tallman and Greg Richardson.

The 2019 TBT will feature a 64-team bracket of professional basketball players, with college alumni teams, international basketball stars, ex-NBA players and others competing in a single-elimination 5-on-5 tournament, according to Saturday’s program.

Best Virginia will play Seven City Royalty (Old Dominion) at 3 p.m. Friday, July 26 in Richmond, Virginia. The game will air on ESPN3.

Fans of the winning team win 10 percent of the $2 million prize, the program said. A portion of Friday’s proceeds will go to the Martinsburg Berkeley County Recreation Center and a portion to the travel expenses and needs of Best Virginia.

Hahn, former assistant coach at WVU under Bob Huggins for 10 years, said Flowers had the idea a couple of years ago to begin an alumni team.

“John Flowers a couple years ago says, ‘why don’t we get a team for this TBT tournament and let’s call it Best Virginia,'” Hahn explained as the crowd erupted in applause. “John Flowers did an unbelievable job at getting this thing started.”

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Billy Hahn hands John Flowers the microphone Friday night at Hedgesville High School.

Hahn said the committee of the TBT tournament called them a couple of weeks ago, who said they have never had a team that has given them so much attention and such a following for “our” team than any other team that they ever had.

Hahn added that during a staff meeting, the committee called and asked if WVU would be a regional host for next years tournament.

“Thanks to the West Virginia fans, we are having a regional tournament next year in Morgantown, West Virginia,” Hahn said.

Flowers discussed how great the response has been all over the state.

“I have played in six different countries, still playing – going on my ninth year, and by far you guys are the best fans in the world,” Flowers said.

Flowers asked the fans to go to https://www.thetournament.com/ to register as a fan and vote for Best Virginia.

After a fun-filled game, Best Virginia won 99-67. The game was followed by an autograph session.

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