When Elijah Macon committed to the WVU basketball team a week ago, many Mountaineer fans were probably thinking, "Again?"
Yes, it was the second time the 6-foot-9 power forward made a verbal commitment to the Mountaineers staff, but he likes to point out that in the time between when he decommitted it was never because he had lost his love for West Virginia. In fact, he says it always remained.
"Over the time when I was decommitted from West Virginia, I just basically went on unofficial visits and was looking at how the freshmen live and the campus and the coaching and everything," says Macon. "When I came down to my official, it was already coming to the point where I was ready to end my recruitment. Everything felt right, so I just went and did it again."
His official visit was this past weekend for the big football game against LSU. He stood on the sidelines before the game with WVU coaches and former players and took in the atmosphere that he had just committed to.
Sure, his atmosphere in the Coliseum will be quite different, but just seeing the fans in their element was a strong sign that he had made the right choice.
"The fans are everything, really," he says. "You've got to have a good support system. It's so electric when I come to Morgantown. It's always hype even if you all play the weakest team ever – all the fans will be in town."
Macon is preparing for his first season with the Huntington Prep basketball team under the direction of Coach Rob Fulford, who sent Deniz Kilicli to WVU when he was at Mountain State Academy. Surrounded by Marshall fans, Macon is having an interesting time adjusting to life in West Virginia.
"The love, everything still feels the same from the first time that I committed. It is kind of weird living in Huntington and I have to practice at Marshall's [gym] everyday," he says, while wearing a gold WVU sweatshirt in a room colored with Marshall's kelly green. "The Herd people don't like me."
He's got a little more time to get to know the folks in the Huntington area these days as he recovers from a hyper-extended knee that has kept him out of practice for a few days.
Macon and Fulford are setting goals for the senior so that he works on some key aspects of his game, but the main things he wants to improve are his leadership ability and his muscle mass.
He's heard of WVU's strength program and knows what he's in for when he first begins working with Coach Andy Kettler.
"I talked to [WVU guard] Juwan Staten because we know each other, we played AAU together, so he tells me I'm probably going to go through hell my freshman year," Macon laughs, with a hint of fear in his eyes.
He looks forward to getting started despite the hell, though, and he's confident that he and his new teammates will be ready to have a successful campaign when he gets to campus in 2012.
"It's going to be a whole different team because we're going to have a whole bunch of young guys who like to run the floor, dunk, shoot, whatever – just keep the crowd hyped," he says. "I would say a lot of entertainment, really, when you come to the games."
Macon can sign with West Virginia in the early signing period, which begins Nov. 9.