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 #60 to 56.
Top Previous Players
100-96 95-91 90-86 80-76 75-71 70-66 65-61
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56 – Bryant Truck (2009-12)– The 6-foot-2 point guard from Brooklyn, New York, had little fear on the basketball court. His drives in hell or on the high seas to the edge, usually against much bigger enemies, earned him 1,590 points and incredible team success in West Virginia. He helped the Mountaineers to the NCAA Tournament during his four seasons in the WVU, although injury cost him the opportunity to compete for the ultimate prize – the 2010 Final Four.
Darryl “Truck” Bryant took the starting point guard position midway through his freshman season and held it for most of the rest of his career. In all, he played in 135 games and started 123 (the third most in West Virginia history). He scored 9.8 points and dished out 96 assists as a freshman, 9.3 points and 108 assists as a sophomore, 11.3 points and 95 assists as a junior, and 16.9 points and 89 assists as a senior. For his career, he averaged 11.9 points per game, and his 388 career assists are the 12e-the most in the history of the school.
His relentless driving style helped him finish third in WVU history in free throws made (483) and fifth in free throws attempted (616).
The only thing he couldn’t do was play in the Final Four. He injured his foot in the second-round victory over Missouri in the 2010 tournament and had to sit out all three NCAA games that followed that year.
A member of the Big East third team in 2012, Truck spent seven years playing professional basketball overseas after his WVU career ended. He retired from hoops in 2019 and now splits his time between Morgantown and Brooklyn, as he owns businesses in each city.
57 – Roger “Shorty” Hicks (1940-42)– the 5-foot-11 native of Moundsville, West Virginia, played a key role in elevating the Mountaineers to their only national basketball championship in school history.
At a time when the NIT was the premier college postseason tournament, Hicks and the Mountaineers traveled to Madison Square Garden in March 1942 and took New York City by storm. They upset top-seeded Long Island, coached by Grafton native Clair Bee, 58-49 in overtime in Game 1 of the eight-team event, then pulled away from Toledo, 51-39, in the semi-finals. final. Tied against Western Kentucky with seconds left in the championship game, Hicks’ foul shot proved the difference, helping WVU claim the NIT Trophy.
Playing with scorers like Rudy Baric, Scotty Hamilton and Dick Kesling, Hicks was usually not asked to carry the offensive load, despite averaging 7.0 points per game in that low-scoring era. He was considered a smart and clutch player, who made 84.1% of his career free throws. With World War II beginning just months before their victory at the NIT in 1942, Hicks and most of his WVU teammates surrendered to duty shortly after securing their championship. A member of the ROTC at WVU, Hicks became a second lieutenant in the Army. A member of General George Patton’s Third Army, he was killed in action at Metz, France in 1944.
58 – Frank Young (2004-07) – For most of his first two seasons in West Virginia, the 6-foot-5 guard from Tallahassee, Fla., was stuck pretty deep on coach John Beilein’s bench. He saw action in just 21 of WVU’s 31 games (17-14) as a rookie, averaging just 1.1 points per game. His playing time didn’t increase much until the end of his second year when fate and the flu intervened. In the second round of the 2005 Big East Tournament against regular season league champion and seventh-seeded Boston College, West Virginia senior leader Tyrone Sally fell ill and was unable to play. Young entered the starting point liberated and never looked back. He scored a career-high 14 points as he lifted the Mountaineers to surprise Eagles in a run that would lead WVU to the Big East Championship Game days later and an appearance in the NCAA Elite Eight weeks later. Young used this performance as a springboard to an outstanding college career. He took over a starting spot on a permanent basis for graduate Sally in 2005-06, averaging 7.4 points in that junior season, then had a team lead of 15.3 points per game as a senior. The Mountaineers returned to the NCAA Tournament in 2006 (22-11), moving to the Sweet 16. Although they were disappointed not to receive an NCAA invite in 2007 (27-9), they used that motivation to charge until the end. under the NIT title. Young’s scoring, especially from 3-pointers, propelled WVU, especially in his senior year. He made 117 of 270 treys in 2006-07, which is still the most attempts and most attempts in a single season ever by a climber. Young was an all-Big East first-team winner in 2007. For his career, Frank scored 923 points and made 187 of 499 threes, which is the eighth-most in school history. After his WVU days ended, he played professional basketball overseas for five years and then became a coach. He is now entering his fourth year as an assistant coach at Appalachian State. He helped App State qualify for the NCAA Tournament in 2021.
59 – Russell Todd (1980-83)– Before being a mountaineer, Todd was part of one of the greatest basketball dynasties a high school has ever known. Playing for coach Jennings Boyd at Northfork (W.Va.) High School, Todd was part of a Blue Devils program that won 10 Class AA state championships in 13 years beginning in 1984, including eight from in a row from 1974 to 1981. Todd’s time at Northfork (1976-79) featured only state titles. He arrived at WVU at the same time as high-flying guard Greg Jones, and the duo was joined over the next two years by Lester Rowe and Dale Blaney. Together, they led the resurgence of Mountaineer basketball. WVU hadn’t enjoyed a playoff berth in over a decade, but Todd helped West Virginia to a 23-10 record and a run to the NIT Semifinals as a sophomore in 1980- 81, then two consecutive NCAA tournament berths in 1981-82 (27-4) and 1982-83 (23-8). The Mountaineers spent 18 weeks in the AP top 20 during that span, reaching No. 6, after not winning a week in the rankings in the previous 20 years. Todd played an important role in this success. The 6-foot-7, 210-pound forward emerged as a starter in the second half of his rookie season, averaging 8.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in that rookie campaign. His numbers only went up from there with 11.1 points and 6.2 rebounds as a sophomore, 11.3 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior, and 14.3 points and 8.1 rebounds as a senior. His career shooting percentage of 52.1% was the second-best in school history after graduation and still stands at 11eall the time. In total, Todd scored 1,350 points and grabbed 739 rebounds during his WVU career. He was selected to the second team of all conferences for three consecutive years. A seventh-round pick of the Milwaukee Bucks in 1983, he didn’t make that club’s active NBA roster, but did go overseas, playing professional basketball in Sweden for several years. He stayed in Sweden after his playing career ended, working as a teacher.
60 – Marsalis Basey (1991-94) –The 5-foot-8 Martinsburg native may have been short in stature, but he was big in athletic ability, toughness and heart. In high school, he was a three-year-old man of letters in football and also a top basketball rookie. Plus, he was good enough at baseball to be a 15e-round draft pick of the Houston Astros and spent several seasons in their minor league system while also playing college basketball. Mountaineer fans remember him mostly for his playmaking skills, as he played in 114 games, 79 of them, during his four WVU seasons. It took a little while for his scoring to develop (4.0 points per game in first year and 7.5 per game in second year), but he was always good at distributing the basketball. He had 72 assists in his freshman season at West Virginia, then led the Mountaineers in that category as sophomores (137), junior (158) and senior (147). His 514 career assists remain third in school history behind only Steve Berger (574) and Jevon Carter (559). Basey has also become an excellent marksman. He averaged 13.2 points per game as a junior and 16.2 as a senior. His 78 3-pointers (on 190 attempts for 41.1%) are the seventh in a single season in WVU history. Marsalis was a member of a class that ultimately included four players who scored over 1,000 points in their careers – PG Greene with 1,655 points, Ricky Robinson with 1,373, Basey with 1,168 and Mike Boyd with 1,136. Marsalis was the third All-Atlantic 10 team selection in 1993 and the second team in 1994. The only real negative for Basey is that despite being part of this talented group, he only managed one only NCAA Tournament berth in his time at WVU (1992 with a first-round loss to Missouri) and settled for three more NITs, all with second-round exits, during his four-year career. At the end of his playing days, Basey returned to Martinsburg. While Marsalis has remained involved in basketball coaching Eastern Panhandle players, he and his wife also own and operate several daycare centers in the area.