It was the summer of 2009.
I was standing on the porch at the Parkersburg Country Club waiting for golf scores from that day's tournament to be posted.
I also was listening to all the chatter going on around me.
One conversation in particular caught my attention.
Most of the talking was being done by an excited West Virginia University fan who had just witnessed a workout by West Virginia University basketball recruit Casey Mitchell. He was telling his friends this guy was going to be the greatest player in Mountaineer history.
It was at that point that this normally shy sports editor who learned a long time ago it is better to listen than to talk boldly piped up and noted he would put Mitchell on the list of those who had been dubbed greatest ever even before playing in a single game.
Now, we know Mitchell is a solid performer - when he's not in coach Bob Huggins' doghouse. Greatest Mountaineer ever? That would be Jerry West. Other than this sentence, Jerry West and Casey Mitchell are names that hardly ever appear together.
On Wednesday, West Virginia university and every other college football program in America will be signing the young men who are willing to play for their school. Even though this recruiting class -for many reasons -isn't going to measure up to past WVU standards, it still is going to possess some names about whom Mountaineer fans are going to get excited.
That's OK. Anytime a new hotshot athlete surfaces, fans hope he is indeed the next Jerry West or the next Pat White.
Rather than get excited about the old names, they're looking for somebody new on who to pin their hopes. That's what being a fan is all about. Eternal optimism. We're No. 1, whether we are Powerhouse State or East Cupcake College.
There's an entire industry of those who report recruiting information. After going through the recruiting process with several local athletes, I've concluded much of the information out there is bunk. Yet, as long as there is a demand for it, there will be those who will supply it, and earn a living doing so.
I've learned never to get too excited over any individual athlete. I've seen 5-star recruits who were total duds and walkons become the best player on the team. I always remind those who can't wait to see the new hotshot running back that when it comes to college football, he has zero career yards.
Just like WVU coach-in-waiting Dana Holgorsen has zero career wins. Yes, he has credentials that lead us to believe he will be successful, but he wouldn't be the first to greatly exceed or disappoint in his performance.
Only time will tell how any recruit or new coach will perform.
Until then, listen to whoever you please.
I hear CBS?is unveiling some new hotshot commentator.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org