West Virginia senior forward Kevin Jones and freshman point guard Jabarie Hinds both played for head coach Bob Cimmino at ‘Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon.’
Cimmino also coached former Rutgers players Jonathan Mitchell and Mike Coburn.
And current senior point guard Isaiah Cousins — who holds offers from Hofstra, Manhattan and Stonybrook but won’t sign until the spring — may still wind up in the Big East if he blows up this season.
“I think he wants to see if his recruitment does blow up,” Cimmino said. “He’s gotten so much better in the last six months that it’s very, very noticeable.”
Yet with the future of the Big East now up in the air, Cimmino feels more than a tinge of sadness.
“Of course, I’m like everybody else out here,” Cimmino told SNY.tv by phone. “I’m mourning the disintegration of the great Big East that I grew up with. To this day, I think it was the best league that there ever was so it hurts.’
Hinds figures to be an important player for the Mountaineers this season, in what could be their last in the Big East.
“Jabarie unfortunately missed the 10 days of practice we had in August and the trip to Italy but he’s a very quick study,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins told SNY.tv at Big East media day. “He’s got a great aptitude to learn basketball. He actually knows a lot more than the guys who had the 10 days know because he’s got a great upside and he’s been coached so well.
“You get guys out of Mount Vernon High School, they’ve been coached. Bob does a great job.”
Cimmino is looking forward to watching Hinds this season when the Mounties make trips North to Seton Hall (Dec. 30), Rutgers (Jan. 4), UConn (Jan. 9) and St. John’s (Jan. 25).
“It’s a thrill to know that you have players in the Big East and Jabarie, he earned everything along the way and I was proud that he’s a Big East player,” Cimmino said. “The opportunity to see him thrilled all of our fans, I think.”
The Big 12 says West Virginia will join the conference in July and play the 2012-13 basketball season in the new league, while Big East Commissioner John Marinatto steadfastly maintains all departing teams — Syracuse, Pittsburgh and West Virginia — must wait the required 27 months.
If they go next year, Cimmino will only get to see Hinds in the Big East for one season.
If it takes 27 months, Hinds would play three years in the Big East before West Virginia goes to the Big 12 for 2014-15.
“That’s like very far away in his mind,” Cimmino said. “The things that he has control over is what’s important to him.”