Routt’s Preparation Puts Him In Position To Answer The Call

Routt’s Preparation Puts Him In Position To Answer The Call

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There’s a lot to like about being tall.

— You can reach items on the top shelf.

— You can see if you are in the back row at an event.

— You could always go on the rides at an amusement park.

— You don’t need to spend money on a step ladder.

There’s also a lot that proves bothersome. Ask Logan Routt, West Virginia’s 7-foot center who has suddenly come into prominence as the starter, Sagaba Konate, battles through a knee injury.

Take sleeping, for example.

West Virginia forward Logan Routt (31) defends at the rim

“I had a king size bed at home through high school. My mom took care of that, but when I got here I was in a twin bed in the dorm. Horrible.”

So were some of the sleepless nights, for Routt always has been the normal kid in the oversized body.

“I’m used to it,” he said. “I’ve always been taller than everyone. People see me and they want a picture, and with the guys I’m with it’s like ‘Gosh, why doesn’t it bother you?’ I’m like ‘Because I get it every day. It’s just a part of life for me,’” Routt said.

Nothing, it seems, is easy.

Try buying clothes when you are 7-feet tall.

“It’s tough, especially pants,” he said.

“One can only imagine finding pants with a 36-inch waist and 46-inch inseam on the rack.

“And finding T-shirts that aren’t 3-feet wide and baggy is hard,” he said.

“But as I’ve gotten older I’ve found ways to find clothes that fit. I’ve found websites for tall people.”

As he progressed through school he found that he had excellent athletic ability, enough so that at the Class A school he attended in Cameron, which is sort of the middle of nowhere 56 miles west of Morgantown, he became something of a national curiosity as a kid almost 7-feet tall playing quarterback.

He was a good one and, he was obviously a good basketball player, too, although no one really knew about it.

“I had no scholarship offers, none at all,” Routt said. “I had a chance to walk on here and I wasn’t sure what was going to happen. I redshirted. The more I played, the more I practiced, the more confidence I got, the more I could just see myself in the future doing something.

“I just took it one step at a time.”

Easy it wasn’t. He said he was about an inch shorter when he arrived in Morgantown, but weighed just 215.

“I’m 260 now,” he said.

And how did he manage that?

“I just put my head down and went forward with our old strength coach, Andy Kettler, literally every single day — before practice, after practice, on the weekends. That helped me gain traction because I was already behind the 8-ball when I got here,” he said.

“I was from single A high school, underweight, less strength than everyone when I got here. So I had to put a ton of work in to ever have this opportunity.”

It was the work, even more than the 7-foot body, that got Routt into a position where he earned a scholarship last year — one he gave up this year to make room for a larger recruiting class for Huggins as he is so strong academically that most of his school was being paid for via grants anyway.

West Virginia center Logan Routt makes a pass

“Logan has come so far, it’s crazy,” said coach Bob Huggins, who believed in him. “Coming out of high school, he wasn’t even getting recruited by the (Mountain East) Conference schools, the D-II schools. But he’s worked and worked and worked, and made himself a legitimate player in the (Power 5).”

Credit goes to Routt for what he accomplished, but it also is another sign of just how great a coach Huggins is, for this was a project and he nutured it along when he could easily have run it off.

Today he serves as Sagaba Konate’s backup and, it turns out, he may prove to be a crucial element for the Mountaineers for Konate is nursing an ouchy knee that may provide problems all season.

On Tuesday night he had to sit out and Routt find himself, this one-time weakling whom no one wanted, starting.

“In high school, one of my football coaches, who was a military guy, used to say, ‘If someone drops their rifle, are you going to sit there and crap yourself or are you going to pick it up and start shooting,’” he said. “That’s how I took it. Sags was down tonight, so I just tried to fill in and do what I could do.

“It was different to start tonight and have your name called and to run out the carpet, but in the end, it was just another game. It was cool to run out the carpet for the first time as a starter, me being a West Virginia guy and knowing where I came from, but I just had to treat it like it was another game.”

And he produced.

Someone put the box score in front of him. Seven points on 2 of 3 shooting from the floor, 3 of 4 from the free throw line, eigth rebounds, five of them on the offensive end; one assist, one blocked shot, two steals.

“What makes you the most proud on that line?” he was asked

He looked for a moment, then offered up the answer that says all you need to know about Logan Routt.

“I’m proud of the two steals. I saw that and I smiled. I played hard today. I feel like I earned the two steals,” he said.

Sort of a 7-foot tall Jevon Carter.

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