MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – As the saying goes, “Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.”
Former WVU men’s basketball player John Flowers has found a way to bring that saying to life over the past seven years.
After his WVU career was over, he wanted to find a way to stay connected with his teammates and the generations of Mountaineer hoopers that came after him. That sparked the idea for an alumni game that later blossomed into a team competing in The Basketball Tournament.
Best Virginia was created to keep the WVU hoops brotherhood alive, but it also was a way for the players to continue their bond with Mountain Nation.
The past two years Charleston has served as a regional site for TBT. This year, it saw one of the highest attendance records in the event’s history.
“Representing the Mountaineers again and being about to do it in front of our home crowd for a short period of time has been amazing,” Best Virginia head coach James Long said. “It’s incredible to be a part of. It gives us something to hold on to from our college days.”
Best Virginia won three games on its home court in the tournament, earning its first-ever TBT quarterfinals berth.
Its journey for the $1 million prize came to an end on Friday, but the memories created for the players and fans alike is something that you just can’t put a price tag on.
Teammates from the 2010 Final Four team, instrumental pieces from the Press Virginia era and Mountaineer immortal Jevon Carter as an assistant coach. There was something for fans of all ages to reminisce on.
The second the game ended, tweets from Mountaineer fans all across the nation came pouring in to remind the team they gave them the opportunity to do just that. Within the past 24 hours, the Best Virginia players and coaches ensured love was reciprocated.
Best Virginia may not have won the title, but it reminded all who watched and played, that the saying is true. Once a Mountaineer, Always a Mountaineer.
“This is a resilient group. We’ve been through a lot. Regardless of if you played together or not, we’ve all been through Coach Huggins. We’ve all been through the staff,” Long said. “John said at the end ‘regardless of what happens next year let’s keep being around each other in the summer, this is good. Even if it’s not us let’s be here for the young guys.’ It speaks volumes to these guys, and John really does try to get all the alumni together and share that brotherhood, so credit to him. I’m appreciative of him because he started all this.”
As the dust settles on the quarterfinal loss, there’s a question on everyone’s minds. What’s next for Best Virginia?
According to its social media, “there’s lot of desire to run it back.”