Jevon Carter Repeats As Hardman Award Winner
Jevon Carter’s final season as an amateur was a record breaker.
The former West Virginia University men’s basketball standout wrapped up his college career in 2018 as a the school’s all-time leader in steals (330) and became the only player from a Power Five conference to record more than 1,500 points (1,738), 500 assists (559), 500 rebounds (538) and 300 steals in a college career.
“I was told by one of our upperclassmen, ‘Coach, you’re never going to get another J.C.’” WVU coach Bob Huggins said. “His work ethic, his accessibility, his work in the community, the guy did everything right. He was a 3.4 (grade-point average) student. He just did everything the right way. It’s hard to find guys like that.”
In June, Carter was drafted No. 32 overall–second pick in the second round–by the Memphis Grizzlies. He has played 11 games with the Grizzlies this season, averaging 3.6 points and 1.9 assists per games.
All of it made Carter a repeat winner for the state’s Hardman Award, which goes to the state’s top amateur athlete in voting by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association. Carter will be recognized for a second time at the 73rd annual Victory Awards Dinner on May 5 at the Embassy Suites in Charleston. He was not available for comment for this story.
“West Virginia has become a second home to me,” Carter said last season after playing his final home game at the WVU Coliseum. “The people here have been great to me and I’ve matured into a man here. I’ll always have a special place in my heart for West Virginia.”
Huggins said what set Carter apart from so many players was his willingness to play defense and the study and effort he put in to improve as a defensive player.
Huggins’ example was when the Mountaineers defeated Oklahoma and then star freshman guard Tre Young at the Coliseum last season.
“Scoring wasn’t a priority to him,” Huggins said. “When we played against Oklahoma, he was so excited to to up against Young. He was fired up. It wasn’t, ‘I’m going to bust his butt.’ It was, ‘I’m going to sit down and guard him. Most of the timed when guys get fired up, it’s because they want to go out and score, but he wasn’t that way it all.”
As a senior, Carter set WVU’s single season records with 246 assists and 112 steals but Huggins said the guard from Maywood, Ill., never gave much thought to his numbers, well, almost.
“The steals he kind of enjoyed,” Huggins said. “He always enjoyed the steals thing.”
In winning the award for a second straight year, Carter edged out WVU quarterback Will Grier, who passed for 3,864 yards and 37 touchdowns as a senior, leading the Mountaineers to eight regular season wins.
Parkersburg South wrestler Braxton Amos finished third. The Class AAA state champion at 220 pounds finished a perfect 50-0 in 2018 while not allowing a single offensive point to be scored against him.
Martinsburg High’s Grant Harman was fourth after guiding the unbeaten Bulldogs to a third straight Class AAA football title as the starting quarterback and defensive back — he won the Lee Award as the sate’s top defensive back. He also was a starting guard on the Bulldogs’ state runner-up boys basketball team and the starting shortstop on the school’s baseball team that advanced to the state tournament.
Former Wheeling Jesuit basketball standout Haywood Highsmith finished fifth after being named the national Division II Player of the Year and a first team All-American. He guided the Cardinals to a 26-6 record and the Mountain East Tournament title after averaging 22.0 points and 12.5 rebounds a game. Highsmith is now a forward for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Repeating as the Hardman winner has become a trend of late in the Mountain State. Carter becomes the seventh consecutive athlete to achieve the feat following former WVU women’s soccer standout Kadeisha Buchanan, Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, WVU receiver Tavon Austin, West Liberty quarterback Zach Amedro, WVU quarterback Pat White (a three-time winner) and WVU wrestler Greg Jones. The award was started in 1934 and is the oldest given by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.