Saturday Brings A Farewell to a Mountaineer - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Saturday Brings A Farewell to a Mountaineer

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Michael Ploger -

MORGANTOWN – As the basketball season comes to a close, so does the career of a four year, true Mountaineer.

Deniz Kilicli will play, what many expect to be, his final game in the Coliseum this coming Saturday against Iowa State.  An ending WVU faithful wishes they didn't have to witness.

Kilicli is the last player on the team who was a part of the Final Four run just three years ago.  He came in with a freshmen class that included guys like Dan Jennings and Dalton Pepper, but their time in Morgantown was short lived.

Jennings left the team in the middle of his sophomore season in 2011.  After starting three consecutive games, he was benched against USF.  He didn't play a single minute in the first half, and left the team at halftime with a farewell message.  He was never seen in a WVU jersey again. 

Dalton Pepper transferred to Temple following his sophomore campaign.  At the time, he was averaging 3.9 points per 12 minutes on the floor.  After a year off due to NCAA rules, he now has nearly identical stats at 3.0 points per game, and 11.8 minutes on the floor per contest.

So, there's one last athlete from the 2009 recruiting class, and it's the player who hails from the furthest away.  His freshman year, after suspension for the first 20 games, he became known as "Turk" to teammates and fans.  The Turkey native inspired country flags to be flown around the Coliseum on game days, and quickly became a household name.

Three years later, Kilicli is still probably the most recognizable name and player on the team, however the circumstances have changed.  He has gone from experiencing a 31-7 overall record, Big East Championship, and Final Four appearance, to a season where the team doesn't finish above .500%.

He has played alongside Da'Sean Butler, who now assists in coaching him.  He played with Jonnie West, son of Jerry West or the NBA logo.  Truck Bryant and Kevin Jones also stood by his side during tips to begin a game.  Now, he's the last to go.

Despite a struggling season, he isn't leaving behind any lack of talent.  Head coach Bob Huggins is also bringing in a lot of new, big talent to fill his void.

West Virginia currently has four recruits lined up for next season, all of whom stand at or above 6-foot-7.  This includes Devin Williams, the #12 power forward in the country according to ESPN.com.

Elijah Macon is also a big man with a lot of upside.  The Columbus, Ohio native is best on the offensive end of the floor, while Williams is a better rebounder.  Macon was the #45 player in the country for that graduating class, but Macon took a post-grad year and will be attending WVU in the Fall.

So what does WVU faithful take away from all this? Don't worry, WVU basketball has better days to come, even if a great player is leaving this weekend.  His farewell deserves the best of applauds, among with the greetings of who follow in his footsteps.

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