MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The West Virginia Regional of The Basketball Tournament begins in Charleston in about a week and a half, and soon, a team of WVU hoops alumni will ramp up their preparations.
Best Virginia will play two exhibitions games in the Mountain State, beginning Wednesday night in Beckley and continuing Friday night in Wheeling.
With so little time remaining before the TBT begins, former Mountaineer and Best Virginia head coach James Long says these exhibitions are important. They’re two of the last tune ups this team will have before competing in a single-elimination tournament with a $1 million grand prize.
“We gotta work on what we’re doing defensively and offensively as well. They’re seeing the same version of things in practice, so hopefully in Beckley and Wheeling, we see a couple different things defensively, offensively, we can guard new stuff,” Long said. “It’s not a lot of time to prepare, but anytime you can get feedback from play and then reinforcing it with the video is very beneficial.”
Best Virginia’s coaching staff features a talented trio that will help prepare players for the tournament. Long, a former WVU player and assistant under Bob Huggins, leads that group after guiding WVU Tech to a River States Conference championship in his season season with the NAIA program.
Morgantown High coach Dave Tallman is one of the team’s two assistant coaches. Tallman took the Mohigans to the Class 4A state championship game in March. He won a state title in 2016 when the Mohigans went 27-0.
Former WVU and Best Virginia forward Da’Sean Butler has also moved to the bench. He’s the third member of the coaching staff and just wrapped up his first season as an assistant coach at Division II Wheeling University.
Tickets are still available for the Best Virginia exhibitions in Beckley and Wheeling. Best Virginia will play its first game in the TBT’s West Virginia Regional July 17 at 2 p.m. against WoCo Showtime.