Carter And Miles Leave An Impressive Legacy at West Virginia
Within a long three-pointer from Boston’s Old North Church of “One if by land, two if by sea” fame, there would be no more midnight rides for Mountaineer seniors Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles. Their incredible college careers came to a sudden end in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament Friday night, as West Virginia bowed out to No. 1 seed Villanova 90-78.
Carter and Miles did all they could to extend the fun a little longer. Dax’ led WVU in scoring against the Wildcats with 16 points before fouling out for just the fifth time in his career. J.C. added 12 points to go along with eight assists and four steals.
They each finished in the top 25 in school history in scoring, as Carter’s 1,758 career points is the eighth most ever at West Virginia and Miles’ 1,311 is 25th. They became the first Mountaineers to ever play in three Sweet 16’s, and they participated in 105 and 100 wins at WVU respectably, the second and sixth most ever at the school. Jevon will go down as West Virginia’s greatest defender. His 330 career steals are 79 more than any Mountaineer ever and place him in a tie for 17th in the history of all Division I hoopsters.
It’s a legacy that will not soon be forgotten by WVU fans or their head coach.
“These two guys are 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,” stated West Virginia’s Bob Huggins. “But what they do off the floor, they’re both really good students. They’re both going to graduate on time. 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.
“When they came in, we were struggling,” recalled Huggins, whose clubs posted 13-19 and 17-16 records in the two seasons prior to the arrival of Carter and Miles. “I underestimated the switch from the Big East and how they played in the Big East compared to the Big 12, and we had the wrong kind of guys. 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, they work,” concluded Huggins. “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.”
Since the pair arrived, WVU has won at least 25 games each season, has gone to the NCAA Tournament each season and has advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of their four seasons.
“You are talk about two seniors who have meant so much to us and helped us turn our identity around,” noted West Virginia assistant coach Larry Harrison. “We’re going to miss Dax’s energy and enthusiasm. And we’re going to miss J.C.’s leadership and all-around play.”
Carter and Miles led the Mountaineers in scoring this year, averaging 17.3 and 12.9 points per game respectively.
Jevon also has earned a mantle full of trophies in his time at WVU. He was an All-Big 12 first-team selection and third-team All-American this season and has been named the league’s defensive player of the year the past two seasons. On top of that, the Maywood, Ill., native also was an academic All-American.
“He did a really good job of showing what it takes to get better,” Harrison explained. “He spent a lot of time in the gym, a lot of time watching film and a lot of time with the coaches.
“Jevon certainly overachieved,” Harrison concluded. “I don’t think anyone saw what he would become when we recruited him, including the coaches. But he worked very hard to get to the level he’s at. Hopefully he’ll get a chance to play in the League (NBA). He’s still got a lot of great basketball left in front of him. We’re going to miss him, no doubt about that.”
The outgoing seniors set an example for those Mountaineers behind them.
“They taught me a lot of things, not just about basketball but about life,” said sophomore guard Beetle Bolden of Miles and Carter. “They taught to never give up, no matter how hard things get. I’m a better person and a better player because what I learned from them.”