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West Virginia

Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forward Thomas Walkup reacts in the second half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Barclays Center. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)
Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks forward Thomas Walkup reacts in the second half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Barclays Center. (Robert Deutsch/USA Today Sports Images)

No. 14 Stephen F. Austin upset No. 3 West Virginia on Friday.

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By JACK LeGWIN

Lamont West has committed to West Virginia.

The 6-foot-7 senior from Miller Grove (Ga.) said that a big part in his commitment was his relationship with coaching staff.

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By CHRIS RUSSELL

NEW YORK -- West Virginia took on N.C. State Saturday night as part of the Gotham Classic at Madison Square Garden.

In a sluggish battle where there were a total of 52 fouls, No. 22 West Virginia came out on top, 83-69, behind Juwan Staten?s 24 points and 6 assists.

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Esa Ahmad, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Cleveland (Ohio) Shaker Heights who was named the Cleveland Plain Dealer Player of the Year,?chose West Virginia on Wednesday over Ohio State and Maryland.

"I have officially committed to the University of West Virginia! I would like to thank everyone who has recruited me!" he Tweeted.

"He chose West Virginia because of the style of play, proximity and because they have a Hall of Fame coach [Bob Huggins]," Ibby Ahmad, Esa's father, told SNY.tv. "They have tremendous pieces in place for Esa's arrival."

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West Virginia on Monday signed a guard named?Billydee Williams.

He is not to be confused with Billy Dee Williams,?the actor who played Lando Calrissian in the Star Wars series and may appear in either the upcoming Star Wars Rebels or Star Wars Episode VII, which will also include Carrie Fisher,?Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill and comes out in December 2015.

Billydee Williams is a 6-foot-6, 215-pound guard/forward from Orlando, Fla. who most recently attended South Plains Community College in Texas. He will have two years of eligibility remaining at WVU.

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West Virginia on Sunday landed a pledge from junior college point guard Tarik Phillip of Brooklyn and?Independence (Kan.) Community College.

"I just committed to West Virginia," the 6-foot-3, 180-pound Phillip told SNY.tv by phone. "I?feel like it was the right fit. It was close to home. The town was very nice. The players was nice. They showed me a good time. It was pretty cool."

Phillip said he also considered Memphis, Kansas and Oklahoma State, but didn't visit?them.

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Aaric Murray is on the move again.

The 6-foot-10 forward from Philadelphia was reportedly dismissed from West Virginia and the school made the following announcement.

?We came to a mutual agreement that it would be in his best interest to finish his collegiate career somewhere else,? head coach Bob Huggins said.

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By JACK LeGWIN

Special to ZAGSBLOG

Daxter Miles is headed to West Virginia.

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Remi Dibo, a 6-foot-9 Frenchman and forward from Casper (WY) College, signed with West Virginia on Wednesday, marking the second straight junior college player to sign with Bob Huggins.

Jonathan Holton, a 6-9 forward from Palm Beach State, signed earlier this week.

"Remi gives us outstanding size and perimeter shooting from the wing position,? said Huggins. ?His size and length should also help us at the defensive end and obviously on the backboards where we struggled mightily last year.?As a sophomore at Casper College this past season, he averaged 18.2 points, connected on 41.9 percent of his 3-point attempts, averaged 4.9 rebounds and shot 82.7 percent from the free throw line. Dibo led Casper to a 24-8 record.

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One day after?SNY.tv reported that former Rhode Island forward Jonathan Holton had verbally?committed to West Virginia on Sunday, the school made the signing official.

The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward signed a grant-in-aid to play for coach Bob Huggins.

Holton also considered Memphis, Maryland and Southern Miss but never visited any of those.

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N.C. State freshman guard Rodney Purvis and a trio of West Virginia Mountaineers are all transferring.

Aaron Brown, Volodymyr Gerun and Mount Vernon, N.Y., native Jabarie Hinds are all leaving Bob Huggins' program, the school announced.

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Ron Patterson liked his visit to Syracuse so much, he committed while on it.

"It just felt like home to me on my visit," Patterson told SNY.tv by phone. "A lot of love they showed me. It's a good program."

The 6-foot-3 Patterson is a former Indiana commit who also considered??Xavier, Villanova, UConn, Miami, Providence and SMU.

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Former West Virginia forward Kevin Jones has discussed the parameters and is expected to agree to a three-year, partially-guaranteed, multi-million dollar contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, his agent, Bill Neff, told SNY.tv.

Free agents cannot formally sign deals until July 11.

"We're just real excited because it's a good fit," Neff said. "We had a strategy. The bottom line is we wanted to get him to a certain team and this is precisely the kind of team we wanted to get him to that would develop him."

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Kevin Jones' agent says the former West Virginia star has a guarantee from one team that he will be picked in the first round of Thursday's NBA Draft.

If that doesn't materialize, he expects Jones to go in the second round.

"A team in the first round has committed to him," agent Bill Neff told SNY.tv. "The question is, what does that mean? I?never trust anything other than what happens on draft night.

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Two more dominoes fell Tuesday on the transfer wire.

Matt Humphrey, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard who previously attended Boston College and Oregon, has signed a grant-in-aid to attend West Virginia.

?A Chicago native, Humphrey completed his undergraduate degree with a bachelor of arts in human development from Boston College and will have one year of eligibility remaining.

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NEW YORK -- Kevin Jones is too proud, too humble and too much of a good guy to say anything more than that he is "disappointed" by what transpired over what turned out to be the final few days of his Big East career.

But his longtime friend and roommate Darryl "Truck" Bryant isn't afraid to let his feelings fly.

"We're roommates, we've been roommates for four years so of course we spoke about it but at the end of the day we both know he got jerked. We both know it," Bryant, the former St. Raymond's High School star, told SNY.tv exclusively following West Virginia's final game in the Big East Tournament, a 71-67 overtime loss to UConn.

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NEW YORK -- Rick Pitino says he doesn't know which Big East coach left Kevin Jones off the All-Big East First Team, but that someone may have just made an "oversight."

"Some coaches have their assistants fill it out and it's just an oversight and it's not mean-spirited," Pitino told SNY.tv at Madison Square Garden. "It's just an oversight. I?don't know who it was, obviously.

"It's someone who maybe lost that recruiting battle."

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NEW YORK -- At least one Big East coach failed to put West Virginia's Kevin Jones on the All-Big East First Team, and UConn's Jim Calhoun thinks that's a travesty.

"Anybody who would do that didn't play in the league this year," Calhoun told SNY.tv exclusively following No. 9 UConn's 81-67 victory over No. 16 DePaul in the Big East Tournament.

A year ago, at least one league coach failed to put UConn's?Kemba Walker?on the Big East First-Team...and we all know how that worked out.

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The Big East Conference Board of Directors announced that it has voted to terminate West Virginia's membership in the conference, effective June 30.

Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com previously reported that the Big East would get $20 million in the settlement -- $10 million from West Virginia and $10 million from the Big 12, which is loaning West Virginia the money.

?West Virginia University has acknowledged and agreed that the Court in Monongalia County, West Virginia, will enter a judgment that the Big East Conference Bylaws are valid and enforceable, and will dismiss with prejudice all of West Virginia?s claims against the Conference.? said Big East Commissioner?John Marinatto.

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The news that West Virginia has reached a $20 million settlement to leave the Big East Conference this year means that the school's basketball team has only six more regular season games left in the conference.

Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers will play Louisville Saturday in the first of their final half dozen games before the school joins the Big 12 July 1.

?This is our third straight year that we have come to West Virginia,? Louisville coach Rick Pitino said last week. ?I always request it every year. Generally you would see in the Big East that somebody would come back to you the following year, but [Big East Commissioner]?John Marinatto?s?a dear friend and I always tell him, ?Look, don?t let West Virginia come to Louisville. I?d like to visit one more time.?

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NEWARK -- Even Rick Pitino knows West Virginia was robbed.

"Syracuse would've been a goal-tend away from having a tie for second place [in the Big East] today," Pitino said after Louisville beat Seton Hall, 60-51, at the Prudential Center.

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NEW YORK???Kevin Jones tested the NBA waters after his junior season at West Virginia.

After getting feedback from NBA executives, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Mount Vernon, N.Y., native opted to return for his senior season, and it has turned out to be a wise move.

Jones leads the Big East in both scoring (20.9 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) and is the odds-on favorite to be named Big East Player of the Year.

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NEW YORK -- Like every other sports writer, I've been to a thousand press conferences where nothing much of interest was said.

The coaches rattle off some trite commentary on the game, and the players utter a few cliches about giving it their all and playing them one game at a time.

Ah, but a Bob Huggins press conference is something else altogether, a refreshing break from the daily grind and a non-stop flow of brutal honesty.

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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins is traveling with a bodyguard after he was heckled by a fan a week ago in Las Vegas.

OK, C.J. Culliton is not being called a "bodyguard," but rather a "security" person.

"I wouldn't say it's a?bodyguard. He's the head of our security,'' Bryan Messerly, the school's sports information director, told the Charleston Gazette. "I think it's just to have someone here and if he sees something that could get out of control he can talk to the appropriate security people?[at the venue].''

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West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones of Mount Vernon,?N.Y., was named the Big East player of the week, and UConn freshman Andre Drummond was named Rookie of the Week.

Jones averaged 23 points and 14.7 rebounds in games last week against Tennessee Tech, Missouri State and Baylor in the Las Vegas Classic.

Jones moved past Seton Hall senior forward?Herb Pope?into the Big East lead in both scoring (21.0 ppg) and rebounding (11.9 rpg) for the season.

Drummond was tabbed as Big East Rookie of the Week for the second straight week and the third time this season as he scored 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting to go with nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks in Connecticut?s only game of the week, a 79-71 win against Fairfield. Drummond, who has made 25 of his last 29 field goal attempts, is averaging 9.7 points and 6.2 rebounds for the Huskies.
BIG EAST Player of the Week
KEVIN JONES, West Virginia, F, Sr.
BIG EAST Rookie of the Week
ANDRE DRUMMOND, Connecticut, C, Fr.
BIG EAST Honor Roll
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, G, So.
Scored 24 points with six rebounds, five assists and two steals in a 79-71 win against Fairfield.
Jack Cooley, Notre Dame, F, Jr.
Scored 19 points, going 7-of-7 from the field and 8-of-9 from the free throw line, in a win against Sacred Heart.
Kyle Kuric, Louisville, F, Sr.
Averaged 16.0 points, 5.0 assists and 2.0 steals, shooting 52.2 percent from the field in wins against College of Charleston and Western Kentucky.
Vincent Council, Providence, G, Jr.
Averaged 16.0 points, 9.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds in wins against New Hampshire and Rhode Island.
Jordan Theodore, Seton Hall, F, Sr.
Averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 assists in road wins against Dayton and
Longwood.

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West Virginia junior center Aaric Murray was arrested Thursday morning in Philadelphia on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession, Philadelphia police confirmed to SNY.tv.

"He was arrested today on the 1700 block of South 20th St.," Officer Jillian Russell said by phone.

Officer Russell said that as of Thursday afternoon, the 6-foot-10 Murray, 22, was still being "processed." Officer Tanya Little added that "he was most likely in jail."

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Huntington (West Va.) Prep coach Rob Fulford may be the only high school basketball coach in the country with players committed to both Missouri and West Virginia.

"I think so," he said.

In 6-foot-9 power forward?Stefan Jankovic?and 6-6 small forward?Negus Webster-Chan,?Huntington has two players who will sign with Missouri Thursday during an event at the school.

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Maybe West Virginia was distracted by the lawsuits.

Or maybe Division 2 Northern Kentucky is just that good.

Whatever the case,?Eshaunte Jones?hit a 25-footer with 1.1 seconds remaining to give Northern Kentucky a stunning 77-74 victory over West Virginia on Friday night in Morgantown, West Va.

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Conference realignment has now gotten to the point where leagues are suing their member schools and vice versa.

The Big East Conference on Friday filed suit against West Virginia University in Superior Court for the State of Rhode Island, Providence County.

This breach of contract lawsuit seeks an order requiring West Virginia to comply with the Big East Bylaws, as well as damages resulting from West Virginia?s improper attempted withdrawal in violation of those Bylaws.

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Terry Henderson is one of three West Virginia basketball recruits who can't be certain what league he'll be playing in next season.

"He was more enticed by the West Virginia program as it were, and if they move to the Big 12 he'll be fine," Ken Adrian, Henderson's coach at Raleigh (N.C.) Neuse Baptist Christian School, told SNY.tv. "I mean he'll be playing high level whatever league they're in."

West Virginia is suing the Big East so it can leave immediately and join the Big 12 in 2012, but Big East Commissioner?John Marinatto?says the suit is "wholly without merit" and he intends to hold West Virginia -- along with Syracuse and Pittsburgh (ACC)-- in the Big East until June 30, 2014.

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While West Virginia has sued the Big East to join the Big 12 by next season, the Big East has the stronger argument to make the Mountaineers stay longer, two sports law attorneys told SNY.tv.

"I think the Big East has the stronger argument because West Virginia has agreed to the rules and because the other schools that are trying to leave [Syracuse and Pittsburgh] have also agreed to abide by those rules,"?Michael McCann, editor in chief of the Sports Law blog and a tenured professor at Vermont Law School, told SNY.tv by phone Monday.

The suit -- filed in West Virginia state court -- charges Big East Commissioner John Marinatto?with "ineffective leadership" because Syracuse and Pittsburgh are leaving for the ACC And and TCU and West Virginia are headed to the Big 12.

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Mount Vernon High School has become a virtual pipeline to the Big East in recent years.

West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones and freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds both played for head coach Bob Cimmino at 'Money Earnin' Mount Vernon.'

Cimmino also coached former Rutgers players Jonathan Mitchell and Mike Coburn.

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West Virginia has three pledged basketball commits for 2012, and at least one of them says it doesn't matter to him which league he ends up competing in.

"I really don't pay attention to the conference changes," Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-9 power forward from Huntington (West Va.) Prep, told SNY.tv by text. "I really look at what I'm going to do when I get to the program."

Macon is headed to West Virginia for 2012 along with Eron Harris, a 6-3 shooting guard from Lawrence (Ind.) North, and Terry Henderson, a 6-5 shooting guard from Raleigh (N.C.) Neuse Baptist Christian School.

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NEW YORK -- Regardless of where West Virginia winds up down the road, Kevin Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant will finish out their careers in the Big East.

But Jones says if West Virginia does indeed leave the Big East for the Big 12, it won't be the same for the Mounties or their fans.

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With multiple reports out that West Virginia is close to leaving the Big East for the Big 12, look for the Big East to target Temple next.

?To me, Temple?s perfect,? Louisville coach Rick Pitino told SNY.tv during a recent interview, before the new about West Virginia broke. ?They were already in the Big East. They are an excellent football program right now.

?And they?re a terrific school scholastically. They fit what we should?ve been doing from the beginning. They should?ve been our No. 1 priority four years ago, Temple, to get them back in. We made a mistake letting them go; they should?ve been our No. 1 priority.?

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Javontae Hawkins, the Rivals No. 23 shooting guard in the Class of 2012, has verbally pledged to South Florida.

"USF is getting an extremely high level athlete and scorer," Huntington (West Va.) Prep coach Rob Fulford told SNY.tv. "Javontae will be an immediate impact player for [head coach] Stan [Heath].

"He is a gym rat who is a potential all-Big East player. I anticipate Javontae to have a huge year at Huntington Prep and we are very excited for him."

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In this video from Big East Media Day, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins talks about the Mountaineers chances in the league, Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant and incoming freshman Jabarie Hinds of Mount Vernon.

RELATED CONTENT

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Brandon Watkins, a 6-foot-10 2013 power forward from Decatur (Ga.) Grady, has verbally committed to West Virginia.

"A lot of people were telling me it was too early, but I didn?t want to wait any longer,? Watkins told MetroNewsRecruiting. ?I just wanted to get it over with because I knew I was going to be here at the end.?

Watkins is the nephew of former West Virginia standout Warren Baker, who will be inducted this weekend into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame.

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JERSEY CITY, N.J. -- The parade of coaches coming through Hudson Catholic in recent weeks has included Louisville's Rick Pitino, Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon and West Virginia's Bob Huggins.

One of the primary objects of their desire is?Mike Young, a rugged 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward from Pittsburgh ranked No. 100 in the Rivals150 for the Class of 2013.

"I'm happy to have a lot of coaches come and see me play and work out," Young told FiveStarBasketball.com Thursday, when Dixon was in the gym. "I'm thankful for having the gifts that I have for them to come and see me play and get some of the scholarships I've been getting."

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Eron Harris, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound shooting guard from Lawrence (Ind.) North, verbally committed to West Virginia after a weekend visit.

"It felt like home," he said by text. "Coach [Bob] Huggins was a very real and straight up person. He told me he needed me and I aw them practice and they need a shot-maker/ball-handler/defender."

He also had offers from Wisconsin, Dayton, Loyola, Evansville, Georgia State, Buffalo and Jacksonville.

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The Big East added two commitments on Friday.

Elijah Macon, 6-foot-9, 230-pound power forward from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, committed to West Virginia for the second time, doing so during an official visit to the school. A Columbus, Ohio native, Macon previously committed to the Mounties in the fall of 2009.

"It's just the perfect place for me. They have everything I need plus a hall of fame coach that will make me a better player," Macon, the Rivals No. 18 power forward in the Class of 2012, told WVSports.com via text message.

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Brett McMurphy of CBSSports.com is reporting that West Virginia has been rejected by both the ACC and the SEC. West Virginia reportedly applied to join both leagues after Syracuse and Pittsburgh jumped to the ACC over the weekend.

"Multiple Big East sources said they have been told by WVU officials that WVU rejected by ACC & SEC," McMurphy said on Twitter.

West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck issued a statement on Sunday about conference realignment but the Big East is not even mentioned in the statement.

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Nate Adrian, a 6-foot-8 2013 forward from Morgantown (WV) High, has verbally pledged to the Mountaineers.

"I have always wanted to stay home and be able to have the opportunity to play in front of all my friends and family," he said by text. "Being able to play for a coach like Coach [Bob] Huggins is a huge honor so it's an opportunity I couldn't pass up."

Speaking of West Virginia, Huggins and assistant Larry Harrison will visit 6-6 2012 Virginia shooting guard Andrew White?Friday.

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West Virginia coach Bob Huggins and the Mountaineer faithful got some good news Wednesday when incoming point guard Jabarie Hinds of Mount Vernon High was declared academically eligible by the NCAA Eligibility Center.

Hinds was unable to make the team's trip to Europe while he was making up coursework.

?We thought we knew that it was kind of a foregone conclusion (that he would qualify), it was just a matter of time,? Huggins told MetroNews Statewide Sportsline.? ?This time of the year you?ve got football in full swing and (the NCAA) is trying to get football guys on the field, they?re trying to get soccer players on the field and cross country.? So, it?s a busy, busy time for them.?

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Incoming point guard Jabarie Hinds is not currently on the West Virginia campus, but is expected to arrive in August and be fully qualified.

"When he's there in August he'll be fully qualified," Mount Vernon High coach Bob Cimmino told SNY.tv.

"I think he's going to be a great player for West Virginia and they'll see him in August."

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West Virginia forward Kevin Jones of Mount Vernon, N.Y., has withdrawn his name from the 2011 NBA draft and will return for his senior season.

?This was a good experience for me to go through the process and gain valuable feedback for my goal of playing in the NBA,? said the 6-foot-8 Jones, who averaged 13.1 points and 7.5 rebounds last season. ?I?m excited about coming back to West Virginia and playing with my teammates for my senior season.?

?Kevin went through the process in a systematic and professional manner by exploring his options,? said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins. ?He was able to gain feedback from NBA professionals that will help him in the future. We?re pleased that he will be a Mountaineer for his senior season.?

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After Tweeting a week ago that he was headed to West Virginia, Aaric Murray made it official Saturday.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound center who played two seasons at La Salle has signed a grant-in-aid to attend West Virginia and will be eligible for the 2012-13 season

A Philadelphia native, Murray will have to sit out this season due to NCAA transfer rules. He will have two years of eligibility remaining.

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Aaric Murray has not yet decided between West Virginia and Oklahoma State despite his Tweets over the weekend indicating he was headed to West Virginia, an adviser to Murray said Monday by phone.

The adviser requested anonymity but said Murray's Tweets were done in a "dare-type situation and he was having fun" and they were "more of a prank than anything else."

Over the weekend, the 6-foot-10 Murray Tweeted: ?I?m the newest member of the west Virginia team!"

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According to Aaric Murray's Twitter account, he is headed to West Virginia.

"I'm the newest member of the west Virginia team!" the 6-foot-10 Murray Tweeted while on a visit to the Morgantown campus.

When Marreese Speights of the Philadelphia 76ers asked Murray on Twitter if that's where he was going, Murray responded: "Yo yeah bro."

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Former La Salle big man Aaric Murray will take an official to West Virginia this weekend.

"He's coming in Friday," a source with knowledge said.

The visit was first reported by the Philly Daily News.

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