Former WVU Basketball Stars Team Up in Morgantown - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Former WVU Basketball Stars Team Up in Morgantown

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John Flowers is working on his game alongside former teammates in Morgantown. John Flowers is working on his game alongside former teammates in Morgantown.
MORGANTOWN -

Look at the walls above the court in West Virginia's basketball practice facility.

See the banners that hang in representation of a three-game journey to a Big East Tournament Championship in Madison Square Garden and the two weeks it took to reach Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis for the Final Four.

See the faces of two of the most prominent players from that team, Da'Sean Butler and Devin Ebanks, displayed larger-than-life, looming over the court where the next generation of Mountaineers will work in an effort to someday reach the heights that group did back in 2010.

Recently, though, the same players who helped get those banners on the walls have been on the court below them.

Butler, Ebanks and John Flowers have each gone on to travel very different paths in the game of basketball since their careers ended in Morgantown, but they find themselves back together now in an effort to take the next step as professionals.

Butler, most recently serving as a graduate assistant for WVU after his third knee surgery to repair damage suffered in the Final Four, is looking for a chance to show teams at all levels of the game that he possesses the skills – and more importantly, the health – to make a positive impact on their roster.

He sets the cones for a shooting drill as the three work with a WVU manager collecting rebounds, ranging all over the court to get their shots to fall from different angles and distances.

"I would just say it's just like any other time on the court," Butler says of working with his old teammates. "I like being on the court with people who like to work hard and get better and I know John and Devin just want to get better. John is my guy 100 grand, that's my man, so he's in the gym for the same reason that I'm in the gym. He's looking for another opportunity so he can maybe go to the NBA or go somewhere bigger overseas."

Flowers has recently returned from France, where he played for Denain ASC Voltaire. It was his second season of professional basketball and his second in a foreign country that he had never previously visited, the first being Japan in his rookie year.

Unlike the other two, he has no NBA experience. Also unlike the other two, though, he has racked up plenty of playing time in the years since he left WVU in the rearview.

Surrounding himself with friends who have been among the top level of talent in the game, Flowers is a sponge, looking for all the direction he can get.

"It's great, playing with guys like Dev and K.J. [Kevin Jones] was here and Da'Sean," says Flowers. "It's great because they all have NBA experience, so if I have any questions about what it's like to be playing in the NBA or drills they do in the NBA, I can ask Dev because he just came back from the Lakers."

Ebanks just wrapped up his third season in Los Angeles and enters the offseason as a free agent looking for his next home. The path to get there will take him through the NBA summer league, but before then, it brought him to Morgantown.

"It's cool. You laugh and joke and talk about the past a lot," Ebanks says. "We're all here trying to get better and further our professional careers."

Butler calls it "the summer of opportunities."

Each is at a different level of a staircase, looking for the next step.

They push each other as their likenesses and their accomplishments from three years ago watch over them. These Mountaineers of the past have missions that go far beyond those college days, but missions that may not even be possible were it not for the successes they had under Bob Huggins' direction while sporting the West Virginia gold and blue. 

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