Flowers Finds Success in France - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Flowers Finds Success in France

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University basketball is well represented in Europe these days.

Several Mountaineers have gotten their professional careers underway overseas and many are finding success against the competition they face in a foreign land. Among those is John Flowers, a player known for his defense and rebounding and his charisma while suiting up in Morgantown.

Flowers got his start in Japan and after one season, he moved on to play for Denain Voltaire in France. He lived in two new and vastly different countries in two years with the only similarity being the fact that neither of his teams excelled at basketball.

Now, in year three as an import player, Flowers is seeing his patience pay off. A member of Bourg, also in France, the former WVU favorite is a part of a winning team.

"Coming from West Virginia and winning all the time and then going off on my own and losing, it's never good," said Flowers. "It just helped build my confidence."

Flowers is a major part of the success, too. He averages a team-best 13.8 points per game and adds five rebounds each time out on the court. He is counted on as one of two American starters to bring athleticism and scoring night in and night out.

"I see myself as a team leader and helping the guys get focused and stuff like that, but the most important thing is winning, so that's what we're doing," he said.

Bourg is currently 15-7 on the season, good for the second-best record in the league, Pro B.

Every year that Flowers spends in pro basketball is another year removed from his college days, but that doesn't mean he has lost track of where he came from. The Waldorf, Md. native says he still stays in touch with his old coaches from West Virginia, updating them on his games while hearing the latest on his alma mater.

Bob Huggins recalls what it was like when Flowers first came to WVU and the eagerness he showed to improve his game and do whatever he was asked to help the team find success.

"I think John deserves everything he gets," said Huggins. "When he first came here as a freshman, I thought he had a chance because he was in the gym all the time. I mean, no matter what was going on, John Flowers was in the gym."

He was also in front of the camera. Flowers became a fan and media favorite in his time as a Mountaineer because he enjoyed himself. Whether it was doing an Irish jig after defeating Notre Dame in the Big East Tournament or just speaking his mind in an interview, he captured his audience.

Despite a language barrier and having just three other Americans on his team, Flowers has continued to entertain in France.

"I'm still known as the entertainer," said Flowers. "Just having fun, goofing off, but still playing basketball."

He isn't the only one. Flowers likes to look around at his old teammates who are also playing professional ball and see the talent that West Virginia was able to send out around the globe. He also keeps an eye on his former team from a distance.

"I really think they could be a good team, they just need to pick it up on defense more," said Flowers, who specialized in the craft when he wore gold and blue. "They have a lot of scoring options, but it's just a young team. They'll be really good in the future."

Flowers' own future could be in France even beyond this season. He continued to monitor his own value as a possible NBA Summer League invitation recipient, but his focus is on Bourg.

There is a legitimate chance that his squad could win the championship this season and make the move up to Pro A, the top level of basketball nationally.

His old coach thinks Flowers deserves whatever success comes his way.

"When you get guys who love being in the gym like John loves being in the gym, you really hope and pray that those guys are successful because they want it so bad and they put in so much time and effort and because they enjoy it so much," said Huggins. "John probably enjoys playing basketball more than anything else he does in his life. It's great to see guys like that who have great enthusiasm and a great love for the game be successful."

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