The West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team is one of the more successful members of the powerhouse Big East Conference. In 2010, the Mountaineers reached the Final Four for the second time in their history while playing in their 23rd NCAA Tournament. While the success of the Mountaineers’ alumni has not fully reflected the team’s success in quantity, the best NBA players from West Virginia University include a Hall of Famer and two other All-Stars.
One of the most prolific scorers of all-time, Hall of Fame guard Jerry West is the greatest player from West Virginia University. West set and still holds the Mountaineers records with 2,309 points and 1,240 rebounds in his four collegiate seasons. In 1959, he led the Mountaineers to their first and only appearance in the NCAA Championship game. West played 14 NBA seasons from 1960 to 1974 with the Los Angeles Lakers and was an All-Star every year. For his career as a whole, he averaged 27 points per game, the fifth highest cumulative average in NBA history. He added 6.7 assists per game for his career with a single-season high of 9.7 in 1971-72, leading the Lakers to an NBA Championship in the same year.
An All-Star forward who played during the earliest days of the NBA, Fred Schaus was one of the top NBA players from West Virginia University. Schaus played four seasons for the old Fort Wayne Pistons and one for the Knicks, making an All-NBA team in 1950 and an All-Star team in 1951. He ranked among the top ten in points and assists once a piece. After his playing days, Schaus became West Virginia’s head coach, coaching Jerry West for all three of his seasons with the Mountaineers.
A teammate of Jerry West’s in both college and the pros, Hot Rod Hundley was one of the best NBA players from West Virginia University. Hundley was a spectacular talent in college and the Royals made him the number one pick in the 1957 NBA Draft. The two-time All-Star guard finished among the top ten in assists twice in his six NBA seasons, averaging 4.6 per game in 1959-60 and 4.4 in the following season.
Rod Thorn has been involved in professional basketball since the 1960s, beginning as one of the top NBA players from West Virginia University. Thorn helped the Mountaineers win a pair of Southern Conference titles during his collegiate years. He played eight NBA seasons with the Bullets, Pistons, Hawks, and Sonics, averaging 10.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game from 1963 to 1971. Thorn went on to coach in both the NBA and ABA, later becoming an executive for the NBA and the New Jersey Nets.
A member of the Mountaineers in the 1960s, former point guard Ron Williams was one of the top NBA players from West Virginia University. Williams played eight seasons in the NBA, spending the first five with the Warriors where he had his best years. In the 1969-70 and 1970-71 seasons, he averaged a combined 14.6 points and 5.6 assists per game. He played on the Milwaukee Bucks’ 1974 team that reached the NBA Finals, averaging nine points and three rebounds in their playoff run.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended West Virginia University. Basketball-Reference.com