In this 21-part series, I count down the 100 greatest Mountaineer male basketball players of all time.
Admittedly, this list is not scientific. It’s completely subjective, and of course opinions may differ. Feel free to visit our message boards at BlueGoldNews.com to provide feedback on this list, whether for or against.
Below is another installment in this long-running series with a countdown from #50 to 46.
Top Previous Players
100-96 95-91 90-86 80-76 75-71 70-66 65-61 60-56 55-51
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46 – Sagaba Konate (2017-19) – In the modern era, no Mountaineer men’s basketball player has garnered more national attention than Sagaba Konate, as his seemingly endless loop of gunshot videos drew hundreds of thousands of views. The 6-foot-8, 250-pound forward’s defensive dominance was short-lived, however, as his college career did not end until eight games into his junior season. Originally from Bamako, Mali, West Africa, Konaté came to the United States as a teenager, spending his last two years of high school at Kennedy Catholic in western Pennsylvania. He arrived at WVU in the summer of 2016 and quickly made a splash in the college ranks. Although he wasn’t much of a scorer that first season (4.1 points per game), his shot blocking was already at an elite level. He stopped 53 shots that year, which was the most on record for a Mountaineer freshman. And that was just a glimpse of what was to come. As a sophomore, he improved in point production (10.8 per game) and rebounding (7.6 per game), and his shot blocking went to a level that West Virginia never did. had never seen. His 116 blocked shots in 2017-18 were the most in school history and were second in the nation that season. He played 12 games with four or more blocks as a sophomore, including a career-high nine in a win at Baylor, tying the school single-game record set by D’or Fischer in 2004. of the season, in which WVU finished 26-11 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16, Konate was voted third team All-Big 12 and also to the league’s All-Defensive team. Hampered by a knee injury early in his junior year, Sags played in eight of West Virginia’s first nine games that season. He averaged 13.6 points per game and blocked 22 shots during that span – giving him a school career high of 191 – before closing things out after an early December victory over Pitt. Konaté would not play another game for the Mountaineers. He didn’t adapt to the rest of 2018-19, as WVU slipped to 15-21 without him, and after the season ended he decided to turn pro. He was not selected in the 2019 NBA draft, although he signed with the Toronto Raptors and was assigned to the team’s G League squad the following season. He has spent the last three years playing professionally in Europe for teams in Spain, Greece and Italy. Sagaba averaged 8.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 0.9 blocked shots for Allianz Pallancanestro Trieste in Italy’s Serie A last season.
47 – Taz Sherman (2020-22) – A 6-foot-4 shooter from Missouri City, Texas, Sherman spent two years at Collin College, where he finished fourth in the national junior college rankings as a scorer (25.9 points per game) in 2018-19 and earned second-team NJCAA All-American Honors. He then signed up for the WVU, and over the next three years (the ineligible COVID season in 2020-21 allowed him to return as a super senior in 2021-22), Taz became one of best guards in the Big 12. It took him a year to adjust to the major college level, and he was mostly a role player in his season year at West Virginia, averaging 5.3 points per game. His numbers increased significantly in year two (13.4 points per game, earning him an honorable mention for all Big 12) and were even better in year three (17.7 points per game). Sherman finished second in the Big 12 in scoring in 2021-22 and was named to the league’s Second All-Star Team. Although he missed a few games through illness and injury during his time in the WVU, he still managed to score 1,089 points in his three years as a mountaineer and made some. marked 139 (15emost in school history) 400 3-point attempts (34.8%, all 11ebest score for those with at least 400 attempts). Sherman’s career free throw rate (83.2 percent on 218 of 262) is the fifth-best in West Virginia history and the best among those with at least 170 attempts. A member of the honor roll of the Big 12 Commissioner, Sherman used his time at WVU to earn two bachelor’s degrees.
48 – Pete White (1952-55) – Playing alongside All-Americans Mark Workman and then Hot Rod Hundley, the 6-foot-5 White was a great addition to everyone. The Clendenin, West Virginia native hasn’t been a huge factor on the court in his first two seasons, averaging just 2.7 points per game during that stint, but he’s become a increasingly a force as a junior (10.4 points per game) and senior (15.8ppm). The nervous white was a very good jumper, which helped him on the glass. He averaged 12.0 rebounds per game in his senior season and 8.0 for his career. His single-season and career rebounding averages are each among the top 20 in school history, even today. He had a career-high 27 rebounds in a win over Pitt in 1955. Only three other Mountaineers (Jerry West with 31, Mack Isner with 31, and Mark Workman with 30) have ever bettered that mark. With Hundley in the backcourt and Fred Schaus in his first season as head coach, White helped WVU to a 19-11 record and their first-ever Southern Conference tournament title as a senior in 1954. -55. This brought the Mountaineers their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth. After a stint in the US Air Force, White returned to Charleston and worked in finance and insurance. His daughter, Anne White, was a successful professional tennis player. Pete was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2019.
49 – Joe Stydahar (1933-36) – ‘Jumbo Joe’s football reputation is legendary, but he was also one of the Mountaineers’ greatest basketball players in the program’s first 35 years. Born in Kaylor, Pennsylvania, and raised in Shinnston, West Virginia, the 6-foot-4, 233-pound Stydahar was a dominant two-way lineman on the gridiron who was athletic enough to block a school record forever. standing seven punts in one season (1934). His football ability caught the attention of the Chicago Bears, who made him the sixth first-round pick in 1936. He was a four-time first-team All-Pro with the Bears and followed that by coaching the Los Angeles Rams to the NFL Title in 1951. He was inducted into the College Football Hall in 1956 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967. Sam Huff is the only other Mountaineer player in both. Stydahar was also excellent on the basketball court. He led the team in points in 1932-33 (12.5 points per game) and 1933-34 (10.5 points per game). He followed with an average of 7.7 points per game in 1934-35. Rebounds weren’t a stat kept by college basketball teams at the time, but since Joe was bigger, stronger, and more athletic than most other players on the court, we can only imagine. what that number would have been. With the appeal of professional football, he only played a handful of basketball games his senior season before heading to the NFL. He had already proven his worth on the court, as his 24-point performance against West Virginia Wesleyan in 1933 was the WVU basketball scoring record until the 1940s. Stydahar continued to coach in the NFL until 1965. A member of the inaugural class of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1991, Stydahar died in 1976.
50 – Darris Nichols (2005-08) – A 6-foot-2 point guard from Radford, Va., Nichols has combined excellent athletic skills with a high level of intelligence and exceptional leadership. He was the ultimate on-field coach, which now makes sense since he became an on-field coach. Nichols served as an assistant coach in the college ranks for more than a decade, including six seasons (2015-21) at the University of Florida before becoming head coach at Radford ahead of the 2021-22 campaign. Prior to coaching, Nichols was the accomplished floor general for WVU coaches John Beilein and then Bob Huggins. Darris was a much-used backup to point guard behind JD Collins as a rookie (averaging 3.0 points and 1.8 assists per game) and sophomore (3.1 points and 1.6 assists per game). ), as the Mountaineers went to the NCAA’s Elite Eight and Sweet 16. in these seasons. Nichols took over as the starting point guard in 2006-07 and started all 73 games in his final two seasons. He averaged 10.9 points and 4.6 assists per game as a junior, leading WVU (27-9) to the NIT Championship. His 3-pointer just before the buzzer gave the Mountaineers a 63-62 win over Mississippi State in the NIT Semifinals. Huggins took over as West Virginia coach the following season, and he inherited his perfect point guard in Nichols. The silent assassin helped guide WVU to a 26-11 record and the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament averaging 10.7 points and 3.2 assists per game. For his college career, Nichols scored 993 points and dished out 399 assists to just 135 turnovers. He is eighth in Mountaineer history in total assists and No. 1 in assist-to-rotation ratio – 2.96:1.