Former Mountaineer basketball player Chase Harler has signed a professional contract with a team from Lithuania.
Harler will join Palangos Kursiai in the Lithuanian National Basketball League this coming season. The team is located in Palanga, which is a resort town on the Baltic coast.
“The first week in July I got two offers to play (professionally),” explained Harler. “First I got an offer to play in Ireland, and then a couple days later, the Lithuanian team made an offer and ultimately I decided to accept that one.
“It’s funny how the Lithuanian deal came,” he continued. “The summer after my sophomore year at WVU I played on a (U.S.) all-star team in China. We played against teams from Bosnia and Lithuania and China. The Lithuanian team was the best one over there, and I had two really good performances against them. Their coach at the time recently took over (at Palangos), and he reached out to me. It’s funny how things work.”
Kursiai finished the COVID-shortened 2019-20 season with an 18-20 record. Its leading scorer was 6-foot guard Quincy Taylor, a Longwood University graduate who averaged 20 points and 4.1 assists per game last year. He was the only American on the squad and supposedly is leaving the team as a free agent.
Harler will report to Palangos in September for preseason workouts. The LNBL begins play in October.
A native of Moundsville, West Virginia, Harler scored 406 points and hit 75 three-pointers in his four seasons with the Mountaineers. He averaged 4.4 points this past year as a senior, making 21 of 77 three-point shots.
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West Virginia baseball player Braden Zarbnisky also inked a pro contract last week.
A dual-position player with the Mountaineers, having split time between outfield and relief pitching, Zarbnisky had the option to return to WVU for one more season but instead chose to sign a contract with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Zarbnisky excelled in both roles, and would have been a favorite for the Jon Olerud Award in 2021, which is presented to the best collegiate two-way player for the country. He was one of the five finalists for the award in 2017.
Zarbnisky was off to another stellar start in 2020 before college sports were shut down by COVID-19. He was hitting .431 with three doubles, two triples and seven salks, and had scored 16 runs in 16 games. He has also stolen 13 bases.
On the mound, he did not five up a run in four appearances, striking out eight batters while yielding only one hit in 4.2 innings.
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Anyone who follows recruiting knows that nothing is a definite until the prospect is enrolled in college.
Thus it was for N.C. State transfer Joseph Boletepeli. The 6-foot-4, 262-pound defensive lineman spent two seasons with the Wolfpack before entering the transfer portal in January.
In June he announced through Twitter that he was going to transfer to West Virginia, but instead of coming to WVU, he enrolled at Maryland last week.
The Raleigh, North Carolina, native isn’t completely finished with the Mountaineers, though. While Maryland has cancelled its game at Mountaineer Field this fall, as the Big Ten will play only conference games this coming season, the Terps are slated to host West Virginia in 2021.