Frank Young entered the season as West Virginia’s go-to-guy. In the World’s Most Famous Arena, Young again showed his big-game play on center stage, finishing with 24 points en route to the NIT Championship victory over Clemson. Young, named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, was 7-10 from the field, and made six of his seven three-point attempts.
Keep in mind that he did all of this despite being saddled with two early fouls. Though head coach John Beilein normally sits players for the rest of the half when they pick up two fouls, he inserted Young back into the contest late in the first half. The Tallahassee, Fla. native delivered, canning two more 3’s in his brief cameo before heading back to the bench for the rest of the half.
“It’s been a lot of fun to play in this tournament and, you know, all of the emotions just built up as it went along. It was a fun tournament to be in,” said the Tallahassee, Fla. native.
Though Young was the difference in the tournament, freshman Da’Sean Butler just may have been the difference on Thursday night. Playing in front of several family members and friends from his hometown of Newark, N.J., Butler finished with 20 points and seven rebounds. Symbolically, it could have also been a passing of the torch.
Darris Nichols and Alex Ruoff both contributed solid under-the-radar efforts for West Virginia. Nichols finished with 13 points, nine assists, and six rebounds while Ruoff added seven points, eight assists, and two blocked shots.
Not everything came easy for the Mountaineers on Thursday night. During the post-game ceremony, several of the players who cut a piece of the net down were taking huge chunks out of the visibly-worn thread. Always one to teach, head coach John Beilein quickly instructed his players on how to properly trim the net.
“We were taking awfully big swipes out of that baby and I don’t blame them at all,” Beilein said with a chuckle. “But we were going to have this little, little net to hang up on our trophy so I tried to give us a little more space, and they responded.