MORGANTOWN - When West Virginia's basketball team arrives at the Civic Center tonight to face Morehead State, Paul Williamson will take his seat near the end of the bench and begin wondering what the night has in store for him.
More often than not, that means spending most of the next two hours pretty much anchored to his seat. Such is the life of most walk-ons in the Big East, especially freshman walk-ons.
The issue is even more exaggerated this season at West Virginia because of the make-up of the roster. With seven newcomers or relative newcomers among the top 10 players, when coach Bob Huggins wants to try something different, he has all kinds of options and all sorts of fresh faces to look toward.
Every once in a while, though, something happens that can shock everyone. Such was the case last Thursday at the Coliseum when Williamson was just getting comfortable in one of those chairs, watching the Mountaineers play Alcorn State.
Less than seven minutes had been played. West Virginia led by five, 17-12, but it wasn't the kind of performance Bob Huggins was hoping for at that point. Freshman Aaron Brown had just bricked a 3-pointer.
So Huggins turned and looked down his bench. And he called Williamson's name.
If most of those in the smallish crowd at the Coliseum were slack-jawed, imagine how Williamson felt.
"I was kind of just stunned,'' Williamson said. "I can't even explain it. I was just kind of stunned that he called my name so early.
"At first it just went through my mind like, 'Did he just say my name?' And then he said it again and I thought, 'Oh my gosh.' I took my shirt off and I went up and I was trying to calm myself.''
Then he prayed.
"Just help me. Give me strength,'' Williamson thought. "And don't let me go out here and look stupid.''
Well, Williamson didn't look stupid. In fact, he actually looked like he belonged at times.
The freshman from Harts, who played his high school basketball at Logan, wound up playing more minutes the rest of the game (19 of the remaining 33) than anyone else on WVU's roster. He took his first collegiate shot, a 3-pointer, within 80 seconds of getting on the court and drained it.
He would finish his evening with seven points, two assists and even a blocked shot.