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Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Monday / November 20.
  • West Virginia Issues Statement on Pat White

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    There has been some swift and telling fallout to my report yesterday that West Virginia QB Pat White chose not to play baseball at the university in part because there aren’t any African-Americans on the team.

    Ed Pastilong, WVU’s veteran athletic director, said in a statement issued Tuesday night:

    “The university is committed to diversity as evidenced by the development of the OneWVU program. Our coaches and staff also are committed to an atmosphere of community for our student-athletes. I look forward to speaking with Pat more about his thoughts.”

    During an interview at Big East Media Day in Newport, R.I., White told me (and several other reporters) that he did not play baseball because because of the lack of African-Americans on coach Greg Van Zant’s squad.

    “In my knowledge of West Virginia baseball, there’s not been many players of my race on his team. [Van Zant’s] not too high on it,” White said. “Every player I’ve talked to doesn’t like him. He’s not a well-liked coach, but I guess he has tenure so they never got rid of him. They’re not successful at all.”

    Two newspapers contacted me Tuesday night after Big East Media Day — The Dominion Post and the Charleston Gazette — to inquire about the comments. I played them the tape of the interview on the phone and they subsequently reported the comments in today’s editions.

    The Gazette further reported that: “A check of the WVU baseball roster on the program’s Web page showed no African-Americans on the 2008 squad.”

    Van Zant has not yet responded to a phone message I left, nor did he comment to the West Virginia papers.

    On a personal note, I found White to be very sincere and thoughtful in his comments, and I’m sure it required great courage to make them.

    ***
    In other West Virginia news, two basketball players, Joe Mazzulla and Cameron Thoroughman were arrested Monday for underage drinking and resisting arrest outside a Pirates game.

    Also, Pete Thamel of the New York Times has a good feature on West Virginia head football coach Bill Stewart, who is a great interview and apparently a big Yankees fan. He said he watched Mike Mussina pitch a gem at the Stadium recently and also took great pleasure in seeing Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez play.

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    Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle. A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013. He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.

    • White was only stating something that was probably already a well known fact at WVU. If you are a African American you will not get recruited to play Baseball.
      What makes this worse it seems that the athletic director is fine with the history of racism in WVU Baseball. All you have to do is check the five year history of the baseball program to find out that they have not had a black player on the team.

      This is disgraceful, hopefully the larger media will pick up on this and run with it!!!

    • Is this significantly different than when John Thompson II didn’t heavily recruit white basketball players?

      • John Thompson II did/does recruit white players . Get your facts straight

    • please don’t put words in or out of Pat White’s mouth. let him alone and let him do his thing. keep color out of sports of any kind. i am a loud and proud WVU fan and lets get on with the playing, not “bitching” about every little comment that is made. PLEASE!!!!