Wednesday, July 26, 2017

WVU’s Konate delivers in the clutch

Sagaba Konate (50) guards TCU's Karviar Shepherd (32) in WVU's 82-70 win over the Horned Frogs on Saturday, January 7, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

Sagaba Konate (50) guards TCU’s Karviar Shepherd (32) in WVU’s 82-70 win over the Horned Frogs on Saturday, January 7, 2016.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–When Sagaba Konate steps on the court, magic tends to happen.

In West Virginia University’s 82-70 victory over TCU on Saturday, Konate scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had three blocks.

“That’s just Sags being Sags I feel like he been playing like that all season,” junior guard Jevon Carter said. “He was just in at the crunch time and did what he had to.”

But the 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward makes plays on the court that sets him apart from others. Plays that at times can leave fans in awe.

WVU forward Sagaba Konate (50) takes a shot over Radford center Randy Phillips (32) during the Mountaineers' 84-57 win on Tuesday, December 20, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

WVU forward Sagaba Konate (50) takes a shot over Radford center Randy Phillips (32) during the Mountaineers’ 84-57 win on Tuesday, December 20, 2016.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

“He continues to get better,” Huggins said. “Standing around in there sometimes it’s a little hard to catch it, but he makes some hard catches and the block he had (near the end of the game) really opened the game up. That was a heck of a block. I was fortunate to watch Kenyon (Martin) block some shots and that was kind of like watching (him) play.”

The play Huggins speaks of was with 2:34 remaining in the game. The Horned Frogs trailed by nine when Kenrich Williams went in for what appeared to be an uncontested layup.

But bam, Konate appeared out of nowhere and stuffed Williams, allowing the Mountaineers to pull away.

For the Bamako, Mali native that is exactly the hustle and defensive play that is expected out of him.

“It’s real important,” Konate said. “I was like block shot so I got to protect the rim. That’s my job to do it. As a big man you got to protect the rim every time. That’s my job to do.”

Sagaba Konate (50) guards UMKC forward Aleer Leek in the Mountaineers' 112-67 win over the Kangaroos on Saturday, December 17, 2016. (Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

Sagaba Konate (50) guards UMKC forward Aleer Leek in the Mountaineers’ 112-67 win over the Kangaroos on Saturday, December 17, 2016.
(Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS)

WVU depends on the big man to protect the rim and grab rebounds.

“I just got to keep playing hard,” Konate said. “Still rebounding the ball. That’s what coach and I are always talking about, rebounding ball, offensive ball, defensive ball.”

There is no doubt that the light is on for the Kennedy Catholic High School alum. If he stays focused, Konate could have a very bright future with the Mountaineers.

“That’s on him,” Carter said. “If he keeps it up, he can do some great things here.”

And his teammates try and keep him grounded along the way.

“We talk every day. He’s like my big little brother,” junior guard Daxter Miles Jr. said. “But I tell him if he keeps doing that, he’s going to have a lot of success.”

 

Cover Photo Credit: Kelsie LeRose, BGS

 

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