West Virginia starts 2010-11 practice
West Virginia, minus three players from last season’s Final Four
team, showed off their recruits and a returning group of veterans
in a scrimmage for fans.
Friday night’s celebration was tempered somewhat by West
Virginia’s announcement that guard Casey Mitchell was suspended
indefinitely for an undisclosed violation of team rules. The
6-foot-4 senior averaged 3.7 points per game last season.
The Midnight Madness session kicked off the start of practice
for the Mountaineers, who open the season Nov. 12 at home against
The cheerleaders rolled out the carpet to welcome the
Mountaineers. Da’Sean Butler, last season’s captain, spoke to the
crowd from the jumbotron.
”We had a great run last year and we couldn’t have done it
without you guys,” he said.
The crowd cheered as the Big East championship and the Final
Four banners were hung in the coliseum to begin the
”It’s a special thing when you can come back home and bring
your children and show them that banner right there,” coach Bob
The Mountaineers are coming off a school-record 31-win season in
which they advanced to the Final Four in Indianapolis where they
lost to eventual national champion Duke.
Following the hanging of the banners, John Flowers, Dan Jennings
and Dalton Pepper participated in a slam dunk contest. Pepper won
with some help from the crowd’s applause.
The team scrimmaged two 6-minute quarters with forward Deniz
Kilicli and guard Joe Mazzulla standing out.
West Virginia has to replace half of its point production in
Butler, the leading scorer, top rebounder and defender Devin Ebanks
and starting forward Wellington Smith.
Second-leading scorer Kevin Jones, who averaged 13.5 points, is
back, along with starting guard Truck Bryant. Joining them are
veteran forwards Flowers, Kilicli and Jennings and guards Mitchell,
Pepper and Mazzulla, the MVP of the East Regional after scoring a
career-high 17 points in a win over Kentucky.
The Mountaineers welcomed four newcomers: guards Kenny Ross and
Noah Cottrill and forwards Darrious Curry and Kevin Noreen.
The 6-foot-10 Noreen, who averaged nearly 39 points, 16.5
rebounds and 5.9 assists last season, is Minnesota’s all-time
leading prep scorer. He originally signed to play at Boston College
but was given a release from his letter of intent after the Eagles
fired coach Al Skinner.