Mountaineer Careers For Miles and Carter Nearing Their End
Ask a college athlete, and most will tell you how fast their careers fly by.
That’s true for West Virginia’s two senior basketball players, Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles.
Each has played over 125 games in their WVU careers, something only 15 other Mountaineers can ever say. Carter, who has 135 games under his belt at the moment, could potentially pass the current No. 1, Da’Sean Butler with 146, if West Virginia makes runs to both the Big 12 and NCAA championship games. Miles has played in 127 games at WVU and started 115 of them. He’s currently third in West Virginia history in the number of starts, and needs eight more to tie Truck Bryant for second place, though No. 1, Johannes Herber with 128, is out of reach.
Carter and Miles have also each eclipsed 1,000 career points, and J.C. is one assist shy of becoming the first major college basketball player in the history of the sport to record at least 1,500 points, 300 steals, 500 assists and 500 rebounds.
They’ve logged a lot of minutes in a Mountaineer uniform (a combined 6,955 and counting to be exact), but they’ve only got two games left at the WVU Coliseum. West Virginia hosts Iowa State on Saturday at 6 p.m., and then entertains Texas Tech on Monday at 9 p.m., in the regular season home finale.
“It’s going to hit me a lot on Monday,” said Miles of the thought of running out on the carpet one last time. “You’ll see a lot of emotion. I won’t be able to hold it in.”
As the seniors come to the end of the line, nostalgia and emotions come pouring out.
“The first time I remember a Mountaineer coach watching me was when (WVU assistant) Larry Harrison came to my high school game,” recalled Miles, who is averaging 12.1 points a game, second on the team behind only Carter’s 16.8. “He was sitting in the crowd wearing a black West Virginia shirt. I remember him standing out.”
Miles was a Mountaineer fan before he even knew he’d be a Mountaineer himself. A product of Baltimore’s Dunbar High School, his coach there was Cyrus Jones, who had also been a very good guard at WVU in the mid-‘90s. Jones always talked highly of West Virginia, but Daxter became a fan on his own watching the Mountaineers’ run through the NCAA Tournament in 2010.
“My biggest influence was the Final Four team. I had no idea at the time that I would be coming here,” the sports management major explained. “But I remember that team, and I really liked the way they played.
“It would mean everything if I could go out in a Final Four as well, just like that team did.”
Bob Huggins hadn’t started “Press Virginia” yet when he was recruiting Carter and Miles, but once he got the two freshmen on campus, he was confident they could adapt to the new full-court style.
“I knew J.C. could do it, because that’s the way they played in high school,” said Huggins, whose club is currently 20-8 with three regular season games left. “And Dax’ was so athletic; if you can run and jump and move your feet, you should be pretty good in it. Then you add that at the time we had Gary Browne, who’s one of the toughest guys we’ve had here and one of the most competitive guys we had. And obviously we had Juwan Staten; that’s a pretty good athlete right there. We were way more athletic then than we are now, way more athletic.”
Though Carter will leave WVU as one of the top 15 scorers in school history, defense has always been the calling card for the Maywood, Ill., native, who was the national defensive player of the year last season. Miles chuckles when thinking about the first time he faced his future teammate, realizing quickly Carter’s defensive intensity was different than most.
“The first time I met Jevon was at the all-star game,” remembered Miles of the Scott Brown Classic in Beckley prior to the start of their freshmen seasons at WVU. The two future teammates were on opposite squads that day at the Raleigh County Armory. “We went out to eat the night before the game, and we hit it off pretty well.
“Then during the game, he picked me up 90 feet the entire game,” smiled Miles. “It was funny, because we didn’t know we’d play that way once we go here. But that’s J.C. He’s competitive, even in an all-star game. He picked me up 90 feet. I still had 30-something that game, though.”
A friendship that started that weekend in Beckley has grown over the past four years. Together they’ve been a part of 99 Mountaineer victories and 36 defeats. In a couple of weeks, they’ll head into their fourth NCAA Tournament. Only six other Mountaineers have played in as many NCAAs (Cam Thoroughman, Jonnie West, Joe Mazzulla, John Flowers, Kevin Jones and Truck Bryant).
The end hasn’t yet come for Miles and Carter at West Virginia, but their countdown has started, as have the memories.
“They’ve had great careers. Those two guys, to a large degree, are responsible for getting us back on track,” said Huggins, referring to the 13-19 and 17-16 campaigns immediately prior to the arrival of J.C. and Dax’. “They are both great people. They’re not just good basketball players but great people. They’re both active in the community, good students, everything you want. We’ve had zero issues with either of them – socially, academically or athletically. They’ve been great for us.”