Good morning! This is the Shotgun Throwdown, your daily West Virginia sports roundup.
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West Virginia enters the 2021 season a little thin in some areas on the defense, including at cornerback. Just one starter returns at the position, but the Mountaineers do have some players with some experience with the program. They will be led by junior Nicktroy Fortune, but who well help him in coverage?
Former Mountaineer Undra Johnson joins this episode of “Three Guys Before The Game” to discuss his time at West Virginia, where he finished as a school’s third all-time leading rusher.
The West Virginia men’s basketball team will travel to Fayetteville next January to face Arkansas in the annual Big 12/SEC Challenge. The matchup, which is set for January 29th on the ESPN family of networks, will be the second game between the two programs. The Mountaineers and Razorbacks played for the Old Spice Classic title at Disney World in November of 2006. WVU got double-digit scoring nights from Joe Alexander, Darris Nichols, Alex Ruoff, and Frank Young, but fell to Arkansas 71-64 in that game.
West Virginia Athletics
West Virginia’s Briana Lynch is looking to follow up her fabulous 2020-21 season with a strong fifth-year campaign, and the Big 12’s coaches think that she is poised to make it happen. The senior middle blocker was unanimously selected to the All-Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Team. This is Lynch’s second straight selection to the preseason team.
Freshman left-handed pitcher Ben Hampton of the West Virginia baseball team has been named a 2021 Perfect Game/Rawlings Freshman All-American. Hampton was placed on the second team after finishing 4-3 with a 4.83 ERA for the Mountaineers this season.
West Virginia ranks #6 in the 2021 Big 12 Volleyball Preseason Poll. The Mountaineers played five spring matches and earned a 2-3 record. Last fall, WVU posted a program-best 8-8 record in its conference-only slate. The Mountaineers also ranked as high as #13 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top 15 Poll last fall.
Morgantown may be quiet, but the Mountaineers are hustling and bustling across the sporting world. Between hopeful title runs and bench-clearing brawls, WVU stars have had lots of eyes on them across the last week.
The West Virginia men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams have been named to the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America team for their academic success during the 2021 spring semester.
A school-record 11 members of the West Virginia rowing team were honored by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association as CRCA Scholar-Athletes for 2021.
West Virginia’s Miles “Deuce” McBride continues his NBA Draft evaluation at the 2021 NBA Combine, and his numbers continue to stack up with the best prospects in the 2021 class. Deuce ranks in the top five among guards in four of the five categories, including lane agility, standing vertical leap, max vertical leap, and shuttle run.
In 15 games this year, former Mountaineer star Kysre Gondrezick is averaging 2.4 points per game for the Indiana Fever, while 10.5 minutes per game as a rookie. Bria Holmes has played in 12 games for Los Angeles, including four starts, this season and is currently averaging five points per game.
Two former Mountaineers will head to Tokyo as part of Canada Soccer’s Women National Team for this summer’s Olympic Games. Defenders Kadeisha Buchanan and Ashley Lawrence have been named to the official roster for their country’s national team.
Around the Big 12
Pairings have been announced for the 2022 Big 12/SEC Men’s Basketball Challenge to be played on Saturday, January 29th. Big 12 teams are 44-35 (.557) in the challenge. The Big 12 has a yearly record of 4-2-2 with wins in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2019.
Around the NCAA
Projected first-round pick Trey Murphy has elected to hire an agent, forgo his remaining eligibility at Virginia, and keep his name in the 2021 NBA Draft.
Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul is listed by the team as probable for Game 3 against the Los Angeles Clippers. Meanwhile, LA star Kawhi Leonard has been ruled out for the game because of a sprained right knee.
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