Konate’s Block Party Sets Record

Konate’s Block Party Sets Record


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Given the rate at which he was blocking shots through his first seven games of the season, there wasn’t a watch party underway for Sagaba Konate and his pursuit of West Virginia’s career blocked shots record on Saturday afternoon.

West Virginia forward Sagaba Konate (50) blocks the shot attempt of Buffalo’s Nick Perkins

Coming in to the renewal of the Backyard Brawl with Pitt, Konate had 15 rejections on the season, an average of 2.1 per game. Limited time on the court due to a balky knee, as well as unwillingness on the part of many teams to challenge him inside, had combined to drop his average a bit this year. Add in the fact that his availability was in question due to some comments from head coach Bob Huggins, and there wasn’t a countdown tracker or a thought that this could be the day he’d pass D’or Fischer on WVU’s all-time list, whom he trailed by six as the teams tipped off.

It remained that way through the first half, even after Konate book-ended an excellent block by Esa Ahmad with one of his own at the 1:52 mark that led to a WVU lay-up and a 34-21 lead. Then the switch flipped.

The second half featured a block party that was the equal of any ever seen on Grant Avenue. Konate swatted away shots at 18:02, 15:49, 10:41 and 9:37, the tied the record at 6:16 when he took the ball right out of the hands of Pitt’s Trey McGowens at the rim with one of his signature two-handed stuffs. That the tying rejection came on such a play was certainly fitting, as it will be just those plays for which he will be long-remembered by WVU hoop fans.

Then to cap it off, Konate again brushed Gowens aside at the 3:54 mark, turning away an ill-advised dunk attempt for his seventh of Wilsonburger of the game. That gave him 191 on his career, pushing him past Fischer’s previous mark of 190.

Konate said the career record meant a lot to him, and it’s a number that he will certainly build upon through the rest of this year. In the short term, though, his dominance of the lane on the defensive end had a huge impact in getting the much-needed win over Pitt. The Panthers had at least another 3-4 shots inside that missed due to Konate’s presence, which forced high-arcing or awkward shots to keep them away from his block radius.  Pitt made just nine of its 33 second half field goal attempts, so credit Konate directly with at least eight of those misses.

The game marked the fourth time in which Konate has blocked seven or more shots in a contest. He hit that number against Kentucky and Baylor last year, and tied WVU’s single-game mark of nine (shared with Fischer) against Baylor. Only he, Jon Flowers, Joe Alexander and Marcus Goree have blocked as many as seven shots in a Mountaineer game since records of that statistic have been kept.

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  • #76784

    Konate’s Block Party Sets Record MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Given the rate at which he was blocking shots through his first seven games of the season, there
    [See the full post at: Konate’s Block Party Sets Record]

    #76798

    Some of my thoughts and observations, from a guy who knows far less than a lot of you guys about the game:

    Sags is a man amongst boys in the paint–no other way to put it. That’s apparent on a game by game basis when the opposing player, on a fast break, hears a hustling Sags’ footsteps, and instead of going for the layup, flips it to a trailing player, often resulting in either as errant pass, or ill-advised shot for no score.

    On the offensive side, he’s rapidly developed a high percentage hook shot, with all of the grace of the soft touch he demonstrates from not only short, but medium range shots–not to mention the charity stripe. I can’t imagine how much more effective he’d be right now, were he to have a supporting cast around him that could consistently be productive with the offensive sets (which will come).

    With all of his athleticism, what’s most amazing to me is his basketball aptitude, and willingness to adapt and hone his skills accordingly–all in a VERY short period in his young life.

    That said, he’s not only coachable, but he obviously pays attention to a staff that knows what they’re doing.

    I started being impressed with this young man two years ago, when I became more excited with each and every game he played in.

    What an amazing story he will be for Mountaineer basketball for a very long time!! I absolutely love this kid!!!

    #76824

    Some of my thoughts and observations, from a guy who knows far less than a lot of you guys about the game:

    Sags is a man amongst boys in the paint–no other way to put it. That’s apparent on a game by game basis when the opposing player, on a fast break, hears a hustling Sags’ footsteps, and instead of going for the layup, flips it to a trailing player, often resulting in either as errant pass, or ill-advised shot for no score.

    On the offensive side, he’s rapidly developed a high percentage hook shot, with all of the grace of the soft touch he demonstrates from not only short, but medium range shots–not to mention the charity stripe. I can’t imagine how much more effective he’d be right now, were he to have a supporting cast around him that could consistently be productive with the offensive sets (which will come).

    With all of his athleticism, what’s most amazing to me is his basketball aptitude, and willingness to adapt and hone his skills accordingly–all in a VERY short period in his young life.

    That said, he’s not only coachable, but he obviously pays attention to a staff that knows what they’re doing.

    I started being impressed with this young man two years ago, when I became more excited with each and every game he played in.

    What an amazing story he will be for Mountaineer basketball for a very long time!! I absolutely love this kid!!!

    AS LONG AS HE DOESN’T FALL BACK IN LOVE WITH SHOOTING 3’S. NOT HIS STRONG SUIT. AND HURTS THE TEAM A TON.

    #76827

    He has gotten better in looking to opposite elbow when he draws a double team. It’s ok for him to take the longer shot when he is serving as high post and the other team Sags off him. But he should never go hunting for a long jumper. Patrol the paint and use your strength and leaping ability Sags.

    #76836

    NoPitty – don’t sell yourself short. You, like our regular posters here, are very perceptive and add a great deal to the conversation.

    I agree that Sags shouldn’t totally stop shooting threes. As cc notes, when he picks and pops, and the defender doesn’t cover, that’s a good take. Just don’t do it with 20 seconds left on the shot clock, or let it make him stationary where he doesn’t dive to the offensive boards.

    He does need to find a way to control his emotions just a bit. You want him to play hard, but sometimes he gets caught up in the personal confrontation stuff, and that definitely affects him too.

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