BOSTON–Friday’s loss to Villanova was a difficult one for West Virginia fans, players and coaches to swallow.
Not only did it mark the end of a great season for the Mountaineers but also it was the final time that two stellar basketball players will ever don the old gold and blue again.
For four years, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. left it all on the court. Day in and day out, the two gave every ounce of blood, sweat and tears they had to the state and the WVU basketball program.
Undoubtedly, they will go down as two of the greatest Mountaineers.
Carter and Miles put WVU basketball back on the map and were the faces of Press Virginia.
And the impact the two had on the younger Mountaineers was one they won’t soon forget.
“Especially for me, Lamont and Logan, we came in a year after them,” sophomore guard Beetle Bolden said. “They taught me a lot. They definitely helped me in this process, expanding my game on the defensive side, especially Jevon. They did a lot for our state, our program. They turned it around. They will truly be missed.”
Carter and Miles were more than educators on the court but also invaluable life lessons.
“They taught me a lot, not only with basketball, just throughout life,” Bolden added. “Never give up. Just keep fighting no matter how hard it gets. They made me a better person on and off the court.”
The dynamic duo will go down as the best backcourt in Mountaineer history.
“These two guys have been — as good of players as they are, and they’re very good players — they’re going to go down as probably — well, not probably — the best four-year backcourt in the history of West Virginia basketball, and that’s saying a lot,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “But what they do off the floor, they’re both really good students. They’re both going to graduate on time.”
Besides their on court accolades, Carter and Miles are even better human beings.
“And we get a lot of requests from people, whether someone was in an auto accident, somebody’s got cancer, whatever, and you say, we need some volunteers to go to the hospital, these are the first two guys that put their hands up,” Huggins said. “They do everything right, they came in — we were struggling. We were struggling. I think that I didn’t — I underestimated the switch from the Big East and how they played in the Big East to the Big 12, and we had the wrong kind of guys. And these guys came in, and we had guys that really didn’t love to play, and we made a conscious effort to recruit guys who really love to play.
“These two guys are — they’re at the head of that class though. They work. They work every day in practice. They’re coachable. I’ve never had one complaint about either one of them. I’ve never had one issue with either one of them. They’re great people.”
Huggins took a chance on the two when not many others were interested in them.
“He just gave me a chance, a small guy from Maywood, Illinois, didn’t have a lot of looks,” Carter said. “He just saw something in me that a lot of people didn’t.”
And they are forever grateful for the opportunity and everything else Huggins has done.
“First off, I want to say “thank you” to Coach Huggs for giving me the opportunity to play for West Virginia and thank you to the state for showing us, just being great my four years. And “thank you” to my teammates for staying down and working hard,” Miles said. “Coach Huggs, man, he gave me an opportunity, like I said. That’s all I got to say. A great coach, man, a great person off the court, and it’s been fun. I wish we would have kept going, but I enjoyed every moment.”
Carter and Miles will forever cherish their tenure in Morgantown and the Mountaineer faithful.
“They came out and supported from day one, since I’ve been here. They’ve always believed in me,” Carter said. “I don’t know. They just — Mountaineer nation, man. They do an unbelievable job. They travel thousands of miles to come see us play, and I do my best to go out there and play hard and give them a good show to watch.”
Despite not getting their magical ending, Carter, Miles and the entire WVU basketball team gave the Wildcats their all. In the end, the Mountaineers fell short.
“Unfortunately, we lost in the Sweet 16. I felt like we gave it everything we had,” Carter said. “We just didn’t make shots tonight and Villanova did. Good luck to them in the future.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS