MORGANTOWN - The legacy of West Virginia forward Cam Thoroughman grew Saturday afternoon.
Against a good Cleveland State team, the Mountaineer had a career-high nine points, seven assists, six rebounds and two steals in a 74-63 West Virginia non-conference basketball victory at the Coliseum.
If you've never seen Thoroughman, you're probably shrugging at the line. No big whoop, right?
If you've seen Thoughman, however, especially if you're a Mountaineer fan, you're whooping it up.
For the uninitiated, take the senior's word for it.
Hey Cam, on a scale of one to 10, how would you rate as a major-college shooter?
"Three or four," he said.
How about as a jumper?
"Four or five,'' he replied.
He did give himself an eight as a passer and a seven as a rebounder. Then the question got down to that first step.
"I probably don't even make the scale," he said.
He's been known as the team's tough guy. In hockey, he'd be the goon, the enforcer, the Bob Probert.
"I don't mind it,'' Thoroughman said of the image. "If I'd really sit down and think about that stuff, I'd have more to say about it. But I don't know. I don't think about that stuff. As long as the people are happy with me, what I'm doing on the court, and we're winning games, what more can you say?"
On Saturday, though, he was a playmaker. He affected the game, almost always in a positive way for the Mountaineers.
Early, he drove to the basket. Immediately after, he pinched a Viking along the baseline and made him carry the ball out of bounds. At the other end, he nicely fed the ball inside to John Flowers for an easy score.
He hit a straightaway jumper from 17 feet. He again drove the lane, but kicked the ball out this time to Dalton Pepper, who hit a 3-pointer. He threw a body block for buddy Jonnie West, who hit another trey. And, yes, he threw an elbow to chase down a loose ball. At the other end, West hit another for 3.
Here's the twist to the Thoroughman story, though. While we've seen him put together nice spurts here and there, in this game, he continued to play well through the second half.
He drew a third foul on Cleveland State big man Aaron Pogue. With WVU up just one around the 12:50 mark, Thoroughman drove and missed, but converted his own putback. Then, in perhaps his biggest play, on a disjointed Mountaineer possession, with the shot clock running out, the senior dished to Kevin Jones with barely time to spare. Jones drained the shot and West Virginia was never headed.
Oh yes, and on the other end, Thoroughman poked away the ball to account for a Cleveland State turnover. Jones hit a trey on the ensuing possession.