MORGANTOWN - If Aaric Murray hadn't yet understood the old adage about being careful what you wish for, well, he was indoctrinated to it shortly after his arrival in Morgantown.
And it came on more than one count.
First, there was his wish to play for a coach like Bob Huggins, which seemed wonderful in theory, but something quite different the first time he stepped on the practice floor.
"I thought," Murray said, "he wasn't the same person he was when he was recruiting me."
Yeah, well, when Huggins was recruiting Murray he didn't take his big black pickup truck with a treadmill loaded in the bed. Of course, if he had Murray might have wanted nothing to do with Huggins or West Virginia.
The second thing Murray wished for after he made the decision to leave LaSalle after two years and go somewhere else was a bigger stage. Granted, he grew up in Philadelphia and played two years in the Big 5 at LaSalle, and Morgantown isn't exactly what anyone would call a bigger stage. But this is a guy who yearned to be involved in a program that wasn't obscured in its own city by the likes of Villanova and Temple and St. Joe's.
At West Virginia, where the Mountaineers are the only game in town and where the conference was the Big East (when he arrived) and the Big 12 (now that he's here), it more than fit the bill.
"The fans here love you, the whole town loves you,'' Murray said. "Everywhere you go there are WVU logos. It's not like Villanova here, Temple there, St. Joe's over there. It's all WVU and everyone supports you.
"Most people in Philly didn't even know I played basketball. And I think that's why it was so easy to walk around and get in trouble. Here there are too many people watching you and waiting for you to mess up or do something stupid.''
And therein lies the second of Murray's unintended wishes fulfilled. While he sat out last year as a transfer, he was arrested in Philadelphia on a marijuana charge while he was at home and the team he wasn't yet eligible to play for was at a tournament in Las Vegas.
So much for being in the spotlight as opposed to blending in with the crowd. When he was busted last Thanksgiving week, everyone in West Virginia knew about it.
But at least he learned from the experience.