‘Wow Factor’ Could Run Through WVU Sports

‘Wow Factor’ Could Run Through WVU Sports


MORGANTOWN — I like to call it “The WOW! Factor.”

I guess you call it the “Did I just see that? Factor” or “The Jeez Factor.”

Like you see a play and all you can say is “WOW!” or “Did I just see that?” or “Jeez.”

It’s kind of what made SportsCenter what it was. I know, those blabbering blunderheads Chris Berman and Keith Olbermann like to think they carried the all-sports, all-the-time network on their back, but they didn’t.

It was those “Top Ten” plays, the ones that did more for the early sales of DVDs than did X-rated videos.

Like you wanted to see those plays they were showing over and over and over because you just couldn’t believe your eyes.

Well, the point I’m backing into is that West Virginia this year may lead the entire NCAA in “The WOW! Factor.

Think about it for a minute.

Football.

Men’s basketball.

Women’s basketball.

They may just be fielding the most exciting players in the game.

Think back to last year when WVU quarterback Will Grier was connecting on touchdown pass after touchown pass to David Sills V, 18 in all to lead the nation, and how many time you said “WOW!” or “Jeez!” or “Did I just see that?”

Will Grier looks for a receiver as he rolls out

And that was a rusty Will Grier, back after a year and a half without playing, throwing to new receivers including Sills, who was playing his first season at the position after being a lifelong quarterback.

Think they won’t have more polish, better timing, more tricks up their sleeves this season?

There are those who believe Grier may wind up with the Heisman Trophy and Sills with the Fred Biletnikoff Award, for which he was a finalist last year.

Put into a wide open offense run by proven passing game gurus in head coach Dana Holgorsen and offensive coordinator Jake Spavital, this has all the making of as much fun as Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey brought to WVU when Holgorsen took over.

And, before they throw the last touchdown pass — WVU is hoping in the College Football Playoffs, or better yet, in the National Championship Game — basketball will have started and it’s safe to say that the return of Sagaba Konate has guaranteed another season of “WOW!”, “Jeez!” and “Did I just see that?”

If Konate is helped by his time at the NBA evaluation as Jevon Carter was the previous, if he improves his overall game as much from last year to this as he did from his freshman year to his sophomore season, you may just be seeing the most exciting player at WVU since Joe Alexander used his unmatched athleticism to become the eighth player selected in the NBA draft.

Make no doubt that the play-by-play broadcasters reveled in Konate’s defensive heroics last season, his two-handed blocks, his thunderous dunks, his chest pounding exuberance … and there’s so much room there for him to get better.

Think back to the NCAA loss to Villanova and his performance there, one two-handed block of slam dunk in particular.

“This,” cried the announcer, “is the two-hander we were looking for. Oh, Konate!”

West Virginia guard Tynice Martin with a jumper

And should you wander into the Coliseum for the women’s game, Tynice Martin is back with that team and this young lady is itching badly to get back on the court after sitting out last season with a broken foot.

When last seen she was picking up the Most Valuable Player trophy in the Big 12 Tournament in 2017, a sophomore season in which she averaged 18.6 points a game while scoring 35 against Oklahoma, 30 against Oklahoma State, 32 against Baylor and 29 against Texas.There were thoughts that this past year she would lead WVU to its best season ever, teamed with Teana Muldrow and Chania Ray, but the injury but an end to that. Now she is the queen of basketball at WVU and will be the featured player in Mike Carey’s attempt to get back into the national picture.

There are few schools that can offer up the flair that WVU brings into the next school season and if they can find a way to translate it into victories, it could make this “The Year of the Mountaineer.”

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