WVU basketball: Love of program held by players

MORGANTOWN, WV - FEBRUARY 26: James Bolden /

it’s not always easy to get a coach to lead his alma mater at the highest level of Division I athletics.

Bob Huggins has gotten that opportunity and is making the most of it each day. It’s hard to fully grasp what a school means to a person, but Huggins shows that love for his alma mater each day.

Other coaches who come in and lead a program will say the right things, but deep down inside it’s pretty clear that there are other schools that share a part of that loyalty. Huggins was at Cincinnati for a long time and definitely felt enamored by the Bobcats and that community.

However, it probably didn’t feel the same as he feels now with the WVU basketball team. Huggins will gloat about the Mountaineers and West Virginia every chance he gets. Other coaches just don’t do that. It seems like other coaches are focused on their players and administration, not necessarily the history behind the program and what it means to the fanbase.

Huggins gets it. His players do, too. On Senior Night at the WVU Coliseum, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles were honored like every other senior class before them. But this time around, Huggins noticed something special. He saw Carter and Miles do something he had never seen before.

"“I’ve done a lot of Senior Nights, obviously, but I’ve never seen two seniors get down and kiss the floor like they did – and mean it,” Huggins said. “Those guys love this place — love the program — and will be forever committed to the people of this university and the people of this state, which is an awesome thing.”"

Carter comes from Illinois and Miles is from Baltimore. Neither had probably ever been to West Virginia before Huggins started heavily recruited them six years ago. But one would think that Carter and Miles are both lifelong residents of the Mountain State. In a way, they now are forever ingrained in the WVU basketball spirit. Once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer rings true.

With Carter and Miles setting such a good example on the court, the younger players get better. These guys have also passed down a love of WVU basketball to the underclassmen. Carter and Miles were able to fully grasp this feeling solely because of Huggins. They wanted to give their all to a state that always gives it all to a favorite son in Huggins.

Next: All-time WVU basketball team

This is a huge recruiting pitch used with all sports. At West Virginia, teenagers have a chance to be special for not only their college years but for the rest of their lives. Carter and Miles have found a home in West Virginia and thousands of other student-athletes feel the same way.