Chuck Landon: Mountain State puts top talent on court
CHARLESTON -- How many West Virginians played NCAA Division I college basketball in 2013-14?
Here's a hint.
It doesn't take both hands to count them.
Marshall had TyQuane Goard from Charleston, WVU had Nathan Adrian from Morgantown and Charlotte had Pierra Henry from South Charleston.
From there it takes some research.
Parkersburg's Chase Fieler finished his career at Florida Gulf Coast earlier this week. Hedgesville's Q.J. Peterson averaged 19.7 points for VMI and was joined on the roster by South Charleston's Ot Elmore. Then, there's Charleston's Luke Eddy, who appeared in 22 games for Elon as a true freshman.
And don't forget Bluefield's Craig Ponder at UNC Wilmington and Ripley's Chase Fischer, who is sitting out after transferring to BYU from Wake Forest.
That's the whole list. ... all nine of 'em.
But here's the good news. There's more major college talent on the way from the Mountain State.
And not just Charleston's Jon Elmore, who stars for George Washington High School and has committed to VMI, and Martinsburg's Donte Grantham, who played for Hargrave Military Academy and is committed to Clemson.
Besides that duo, there is a pair of ninth-graders who already have stamped themselves as legitimate major college prospects.
One is Huntington St. Joe point guard Keith Clemons.
Meet Poca High School's Luke Frampton.
The 101st West Virginia State High School boys basketball tournament here at the Charleston Civic Center certainly did on Wednesday.
The precocious 6-foot-5 point guard put on a show during the Dots' 55-40 win over Fairmont Senior, finishing with game highs of 21 points (8 of 12 shooting), nine rebounds and three blocked shots, besides dealing five assists.
Call him young Luke "Statswalker."
"The sky is the limit for him," said veteran Poca coach Allen Osborne.
He should know.
Osborne has already produced such Division I players at Poca as Ricky Cottrill (Eastern Michigan), Tim Lyle (James Madison), Jason Cuffee (Wright State) and Noah Cottrill (WVU).
So, he recognizes a D-I talent when he sees one.
Granted, with Frampton it isn't very difficult.
Just ask around.
"We've got to get in on him now as a ninth-grader," said one mid-major recruiter. "If we wait, he'll be way above us."
That's how much potential this kid possesses.
And did it ever show.
With 3:06 remaining in the third quarter, Frampton cupped the ball between his right hand and elbow, covered 17 feet in two swooping strides, finished the big-time drive, got fouled and converted the three-point play.
At the 1:50 mark of the third period, he jumped off his left foot, was bumped off-balance, switched the ball from his right hand to his left in mid-air and finished the drive.
With 4:15 left in the game, Frampton threw a 70-foot bounce pass assist to Elijah Cuffee for a wide-open laup.
Oh, yeah, and in the first half he made a 3-pointer from behind the college line.
"He's 6-5 and he sees the court," said Osborne. "He guarded the post. He guarded the perimeter. He did a lot of things for us today besides score."
That's because Frampton can do it all. ... already.
"However hard he wants to work," said Osborne, "that's how good he'll be."
So far, so very, very good.
The major college future looks bright in West Virginia.
Chuck Landon is a sports columnist for The Herald-Dispatch. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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