From the Cheap Seats: John Flowers Comes 'Home' - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

From the Cheap Seats: John Flowers Comes 'Home'

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A few weeks ago, dozens of former Mountaineers from the 1950s to today, were introduced at halftime of the game against Rutgers. Some of those players were walk-ons who spent more time on the court that Saturday afternoon, than they did during their careers in Morgantown. Others were 1,000 point scorers, major record holders and NBA draftees.

Fans gave all of the former players a warm welcome, but one guy whose career could be described as being somewhere between the walk-ons and the stars, got a much louder reception than all the rest.

The player I'm talking about scored 740 points in his four-year Mountaineer career. He's tied with three former teammates for one Mountaineer record: games played in a season. He was a solid, athletic, defensive-minded player, but when he graduated, he wasn't drafted by an NBA team. Those statistics and attributes probably weren't what fans were thinking about when they erupted as he walked the famous gold and blue carpet.

Of course, I'm talking about John Flowers. Whether it was the way he fired up his teammates from the center of that rhythmic pre-game huddle, his hard-nosed play, or his signature celebratory dances, he found a way to endear himself to Mountaineer fans young and old.

As many fans probably know, Flowers has continued his playing career in Japan. He plays for the Saitama Broncos, where he's averaging nearly 20 points and more than seven rebounds, per game. The Waldorf, Md. native was recently able to take a short break from his Japanese season, so he hopped on a jet and headed for where else, but good ol' Morgantown.

He made it back in time for the aforementioned reunion at the Rutgers game. Afterward, he headed for Fairmont State University to catch up with former teammates Joe Mazzulla and Rob Summers, who were there helping to coach Glenville State College. A few days later, he headed further south to Charleston for the Capital Classic match-up with Marshall. He was featured on the TV broadcast, wearing a gold and blue camo WVU shirt. After the game, he headed back to Morgantown for an appointment with his favorite tattoo guy.

Behind the power of his 10,000-plus Twitter followers, Flowers announced his intention to watch the Cincinnati game from the student section and asked students to save him a spot. He also asked if the students could arrange to have his chest painted. In return, he promised to throw the famous camo shirt to the crowd. As the students overflowed their section Saturday, they made sure to leave a space, front and center, for Flowers. As promised, the camo shirt flew into the air and into the hands of a lucky fan. Minutes after his arrival, a group of coeds showed up with the chest-painting supplies and went right to work. He spent the rest of the game, shirtless and painted, jumping up and down, cheering at the top of his lungs with all of the Mountaineer Maniacs. When his "Learn How to Dougie" video came on the scoreboard, he obliged the crowd one more time. Before heading to the airport for an early morning flight back to the Land of the Rising Sun, he hit the Morgantown house party scene.

In a very public way, Flowers exemplifies they way many of us feel about being a Mountaineer. Whether you're born and raised into it or you're drawn to Morgantown from some other state, once the Gold and Blue of WVU gets into your blood stream…it doesn't leave. It's even more special when a guy comes from out of state and learns just how great this state and its people are and doesn't forget it. From the other side of the world, he could have chosen anywhere to spend his time off, but there was no decision to be made. It was Morgantown or bust. It doesn't matter if you live here the rest of your life or if your WVU education takes you around the world, the old saying "once a Mountaineer, always a Mountaineer" rings true for no one more so than Flowers.

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