WHEN I spoke to West Virginia University's latest basketball commitment late Wednesday night, I couldn't help but be surprised.
Liberty Raleigh big man Levi Cook, a mere 15 years old, gave his reasons for picking the Mountaineers. He gave his reason for picking Wednesday night of his sophomore school year to give his word.
And it wasn't for the standard reasons, that he liked the campus or the fans or the coach. "It was my Papaw's dream for me to commit," Cook said. "He's in heaven now, but [Wednesday] was his birthday. I thought this was the best present I could give him."
I've been covering WVU for 30 years now, yet that stopped me. Behind all the greed and cash grabbing in sports, hey, someone out there still has a heart. It was nice to hear.
Coincidentally, the conversation came on the heels of another I had with WVU recruiting coordinator Ryan Dorchester.
I'd called to ask about an ESPN article that asked this headline question: "WVU taking over Pennsylvania?" The subhead claimed that "with Penn State's sanctions and Pitt's struggles, Mountaineers make move."
Dorchester was somewhat miffed.
"I don't know how they can say that," he said. "We think we're doing OK, but are we exploiting? Explain that to me. I mean, are we going to recruit harder? There's no way we can recruit harder than we already are.
"To me, that's an asinine statement. Of course we're going to try, but just because you say you're going to try [and exploit the situation] doesn't mean it's going to happen."
WVU currently has four commitments from the Keystone State in safety Daryl Worley of Philly, quarterback Chavas Rawlins of Monessen, linebacker Hodari Christian of McKeesport and running back Deshawn Coleman of Hermitage.
You've read here before that one of Rawlins' buddies is Tyler Boyd, a four-star wide receiver and safety recruit from Clairton, Pa. But the Mountaineers are also on Monaca four-star receiver Robert Foster and four-star offensive tackle Dorian Johnson. They are considered the top two players in Pennsylvania.
Whatever the case, you might be interested in a snapshot of WVU's football recruiting if you have better things to do than keep track of kids' whims 24-7-365.