Matt Hauswirth-- MORGANTOWN
Depending on which era one grew up in, West Virginia Mountaineer basketball fans may or may not remember the name ‘Rod Thorn’.
If you are a WVU fan of recent years, then the name may not ring a bell. But if you are a Mountaineer hoops lifer, then you can certainly recall the name.
Thorn was an All-American while suiting up for the Mountaineers in the early 1960’s. He also averaged a double-double (21.8 PPG, 11.1 RPG) for his career at West Virginia. Not to mention, he was the number-two overall pick in the 1963 NBA Draft.
Accolades aside, Thorn returned home to Morgantown on Friday, paying a visit to the 7th annual Bob Huggins Fantasy Basketball Camp.
“It’s been several years since I’ve been back,” Thorn said. “I used to come back frequently. I was on the board for a relatively long time and I would come back to meetings every year. But I haven’t been back for a few years. So this is my first time seeing this building [Practice Facility]. This is incredible. It’s really nice. It’s one of the nicest that I’ve seen. I’ve seen a lot and I’m just really impressed with this building and all of the different things that it represents, and all the things you can do here. I think it’s great.”
However, Thorn is not your ordinary WVU basketball alum. He is currently the National Basketball Association’s President of Basketball Operations. It’s a lofty job that’s only suitable for an individual with the credentials offered by Rod Thorn.
“This year I work for – I’m the President of Basketball Operations for the NBA,” he added, “which means I’m in charge of anything that has to do with basketball. I had that job 15 years ago before I went to work for the New Jersey Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers, and now I’m back. So as they say, the world is round and sooner or later you start passing yourself again.”
With the recent influx of transfers within the WVU basketball program, Thorn was asked about his thoughts on the team – to which he replied, ‘everything will be fine’.
“You’ve got one of the best coaches in college basketball in Coach [Bob] Huggins, who’s been great for a long time. He’s had some real success here and I’m sure he will continue to have it because he’s one of the best coaches around,” Thorn said.
Paying a visit back to Morgantown was sure to conjure up countless memories of his days as a Mountaineer. Although things have changed over the years, Rod Thorn has not.
His love for West Virginia University and the Mountaineer basketball program remain high on his list of priorities. He’s a clear representation of the term ‘living legend’, a term that can be understood with any Mountaineer fan, regardless of whichever era one grew up in.