MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Richard Romeo isn’t a household name, but on Wednesday night in West Virginia’s 90-68 victory over Texas Tech, he had his moment of glory.
Romeo has dedicated four years to being a Mountaineer, but as a walk-on, he hasn’t seen a lot of playing time during his career.
That didn’t mean the White Sulpher Springs native didn’t put in the work like the starters do.
“He does whatever you ask him to do in practice, he’s been here a summer and he’s been great,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins told the media on Tuesday afternoon.
“Richard going to work hard everyday type of guy, weight room,” senior forward Jonathan Holton said. “He’s the type of guy if there snow outside, he got a big truck, he will come pick you up. That guy is one of the hardest working guys I know and he’s very, very dedicated. Even though he don’t play, he still practice hard. He still life hard. He still condition hard. You can tell by his character the type of guy he is.”
Romeo’s hard work paid off on Senior Night when he got his 15 minutes of fame.
With around six minutes to play in the game, the Coliseum crowd started chanting “Romeo! Romeo! Romeo!” in hopes that Huggins would but him in.
And that was a special moment for the 6-foot, 185-pound guard.
“I hear it instantly and I kind of feel my legs and they feel tight and I’m like ahhh,” Romeo said. “It’s definitely exciting. It means a lot to me,”
It wasn’t just a moment that affected Romeo. His teammates cherished it right along with him.
“It felt amazing,” sophomore guard Daxter Miles Jr. said with a smile. “That’s like the icing on the cake for everybody. Everybody was chanting his name and he hit a big shot.”
“It was great,” senior guard Jaysean Paige said. “He’s from here so I know that meant a lot for him and it was great seeing it.”
Romeo got in the game for the final 3:19 and scored a basket.
“Once it got to me in the corner I was like alright I am actually open now,” he said. “They weren’t just force feeding me. Seeing the rim in a clear view definitely made it exciting. I guess worthwhile taking a shot.”
But what made the moment even better was that the shot went in.
“It was nice to get one up,” Romeo said. “To get my last one up in the Coliseum, and it’s even better that it went in. I’m just glad it went in.”
It wasn’t Huggins idea to set the screen for senior, but it was a selfless act of his teammates.
“That was them,” Huggins said. “Devin (Williams) and Rich are real close and if you saw Devin run around and try and get him open, which is kind of neat. Devin has two points himself and he is running around trying to get Rich some baskets.”
Even though Romeo isn’t the flashiest player on the court, it goes to show you just what he means to his teammates.
“Rich, we call him Dickie, Rich, he mean a lot to the team,” Miles said. “He been here for numerous of years and he just make you happy. He’s fun to be around. He a good guy and everybody likes him.”
The Mountaineers’ fans appreciate everything Romeo has given during his four years with the team.
“I think he epitomizes the meaning of a Mountaineer,” WVU fan Carol Shoaff said. “He never wanted to be anything but a Mountaineer. He practiced, conditioned and followed his coaches, knowing he would never be a star, but always a Mountaineer.”
And being a Mountaineer is something that Romeo will forever cherish.
“It’s meant everything. From being an in-state kid to having the privilege to play a division one sport. It means the world for the opportunity itself and everything.”