MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Save for jet lag and a few tofu dishes, Elijah Macon enjoyed his recent 12-day tour of China and Mongolia with a U.S. traveling squad of college underclassmen.

The 6-foot-9 West Virginia power forward needed the competition after sitting out last season as a partial qualifier, a year in which he also underwent wrist surgery in October. Though the layoff was difficult, Macon hopes it came with a silver lining.

“At first it was miserable, because I’ve never had to sit out of basketball. It’s something I’ve surrounded myself with my whole life,” he said. “I just had to look at it as a positive, to take it as a year off that I could get better.”

Macon projects to play a central role next season for the Mountaineers, a program that hasn’t reached the NCAA tournament since 2012 and hasn’t won an NCAA tournament game since 2011.

Though West Virginia was staggered by the transfers of sophomore double-digit scorers Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, there’s hope a bigger, longer frontline can compensate.

“People will see it’s not the same team it’s been the last couple of years,” said Macon.

His debut at WVU has been twice delayed—first, by a year in prep school, and then last August’s enrollment accompanied by the caveat of not being able to practice with the team. Macon sounds anxious to make good on the four-star potential he flashed as a high school recruit.

“I just want to let the people know it’s all about the game, it’s all about winning, it’s all about the team,” he said. Macon believes his skills will translate into “a lot of tip-backs, a lot of midrange shots, a lot of blocks, a lot of running the floor, a lot of dunks.”

Macon was part of the USA Eagles team that gathered for a four-day training camp in Lafayette, Ind., before posting a 5-2 record on a Far East trip that spanned May 15-27.

The USA traveling roster included: Johnny Hill (UT-Arlington), Al Freeman and Jonathon Motley (Baylor), Clarke Rosenberg (Chicago State), Quinton Upshur (Northern Arizona), Bryce Douvier (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi), and Josh Hawkinson (Washington State).

Watch Macon’s entire “Sportsline” interview above.

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  • william

    It's hard to believe that Bob "Sweatsuit" Huggins is still a coach at WVU
    How bad does it need to get?
    This guy has been a big failure.

    • JJ

      lifetime contract. can't fire him.

      Thanks Ed "Passed Along".

    • Big Larry



    • Dave

      There's a big difference between a failure and a bad streak of luck.

      • Beaver Sniffer

        There's also a difference between failing to make it to the toilet and the resulting streak that failure leaves in your underwear...what's your point?

  • Rick55

    Between richard, rick, and richrod, I'll take rick and richard; I think richrod is the same guy as holgie.

    It's great how a story about one of our players returning from playing in China provokes some bad commenters' raging diatribes against the state of the program. And the name-calling sure makes for some pretty darn thought-provoking

  • FNP

    Big Larry, Mad Hatter, Jay Zoom (All in one). Do us all a favor and quit commenting on here because all you do is talk about the same things. You add nothing intelligent to the article and are just embarrassing yourself. Nobody really cares how you feel about WVU and the coaching staff. Like i said before, they need to attach Facebook or Twitter accounts to these comment sections so that everybody can know who you are. And if you dont have an account and you create a fake one just to comment on here then you're pretty pathetic.

    • C Landon

      If you think ol' Sybil here doesn't have anything intelligent to say, you should read good ol' Chuck's most recent paranoia driven rant about WVU basketball in the Herald Dispatch. It's a hoot for sure.

      On another note, speaking of sports writers who's not of right mind and need to hang it up, is there anybody out there that knows anyone in Mickey Furfari's family? If so, please reach out to them and see if they can get him to hang it up and quit embarrassing himself?

      • Dave

        I've mentioned this before, It's time for Furfari to retire.

    • Mitch

      They have nothing else to do. This is the highlight of their day.

  • Dave

    Big Larry is a troll. Big Larry has no respect for me. Big Larry has no respect for you. Big Larry has no respect for West Virginia University, it's coaches or it's student athletes. Big Larry comes here to play games. It's so sad and I honestly feel sorry for Big Larry that his life must be so lonely that he has to come here for attention.

    • Mister Man

      Big Larry got promoted to troll?

    • Big Larry

      Oh Please....

  • wvu09

    reading these comments sickens me at how many "fair weather" fans there are spewing their negativity. I use that term "fan" loosely. These students athletes deserve our support regardless of what their record is. How do you think it makes them feel to read this garbage. I guess Big Larry thinks he can coach better than Huggs....

    • Mister Man

      What sickens me is people, repeatedly, calling these trolls fair weather fans.

  • GoEers

    I wish this kid the best of Luck and thank you for coming to WVU!!

  • Ghost Rider

    Everyone loves a winner, but some of the top programs in the country have suffered through losing seasons such as Southern California, Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami, Ohio State, Penn State, and even Florida State. True fans supported their teams no matter what. Everyone has a right to voice their opinions, but the negativity displayed on this site is beyond ridiculous. You need to find another school to support and comment on their website if you can't make any positive comments.

  • Big Larry

    There’s a stigma in sports about saying things like “Just wait until Next Year.” It’s a phrase WVU Fans are becoming far too comfortable with.

    Yes, the team is filled with many freshman and sophomores. We get that. The “Wait until Next Year” thing is getting very old and tiresome.

    So please, enough about next season OK? It’s getting very old…

    Let's see how it plays out.

    Have you forgot that "last season" was supposed to be the year?

    Most of you have....

    • GoEers

      Hey larry...if this year is over, what are people supposed to be talking about? Let me guess: next year!

      if you don't like it then don't read the articles or post...go back to being the miserable marshall fan that you posted on here last summer that you were

    • Aaron

      I thought last year was successful. Can you elaborate why it was not?

      • Big Larry


        You along with many of your followers have settled into mediocrity to where you think that a 17-16 record and a first round NIT defeat is a successful season.

        No Aaron, that is not considered a success by anyone's standard....

        What in heaven's sweet name are you thinking?

        As a rule, Fans do not tend to spend money to watch their favorite team lose.

        WVU is the exception. Losing basketball games are beginning to be the “Norm” for WVU basketball. However the fans have been “Dumbed Down” by Huggins and they have forgotten you are supposed to win and not lose.

        The overwhelming paradox of this sad story is that the majority continue to support mediocrity and seem perfectly content, always looking ahead to “Next Year”. “Things will improve and be much better…next year…next year…next year…”

        And so it continues…

        • Miriam Webster

          I wonder if Big Larry is referring to "Norm" on Cheers or "Norm" on This Old House? I'm surprised he knew a big word like "paradox" to be honest with you.

        • Mister Man

          Dumbed down? That's hilarious coming from you.

        • Diaspora

          I enjoyed last season. We were very competitive in a tough conference. Please find a way to enjoy that.

        • Aaron

          It should be noted that you are expressing your opinion, right Larry specifically considering that you did not elaborate in how last season was not a success.

          I will demonstrate to you what I mean by elaborate and hopefully you can learn from your superior.

          While it is true that the basketball team did not go to the NCAA tournament, I would consider the season successful for various reasons.

          1) They improved over the previous years record despite the turmoil created by two 4-star recruits and their discontent.

          2) They were competitive in almost every game and competed against every team except Texas, of whom they simply did not match up well against that team.

          3) They had several outstanding wins including against Top 10 talent.

          4) They finished 6th in what many would argue was the toughest top-to bottom league in the nation.

          5) After a 1 year hiatus, they returned to the post season.

          6) Despite losing Harris (won't miss him) and Henderson (will miss him), many of their players saw extended floor time and gained valuable experience. Additionally, all except Macon practiced together for a year and the chemistry is good.

          You label this team mediocre but the reality is that many of these players were recruited to play in the old Big East and instead they've been thrust into a different conference with a different style of play and even at that, they were still competitive despite your average, biased opinion.

          You see how that is done Mr. Hatter. Now why don't you give it a try and see if you can make a legitimate case for why the season was not successful.

          • Aaron

            I know Hatter. To buy you would have to have some basketball knowledge instead of your agenda.

          • Big Larry

            Im sorry but what you are selling I am not buying....

      • Bob

        Did we go to the dance?

        • Mister Man

          Were you drunk the night you and Larry were supposed to go dancing?

          • Lawrence Welk

            Big Larry told me that everybody at the dance was gay except for him and the guy he was dancing with. Didn't realize it was Bob.

        • Big Larry

          No Bob....

          We did not go to the dance....

    • Dave

      I for one am always excited about next year. Sorry but it's the fan in me. I'm not a bandwagon fan that only cheers on my team when we're winning. Although the last couple of years have been unstable, I still get excited on gameday because I know Huggs will do his best with the players we have. Although I would have liked to have seen our team win more of those close games last year, they were very competitive for the most part and I expect to see it again this year. It's too bad Terry and Eron had to wimp out because we could of had a real good team this year. Now Huggs has to start over again with a different team. But again, I'm excited to see what kind of team Huggs puts together for us this year.

  • BR

    Wow greaaaaaaaat - ANOTHER article about how good WVU will be NEXT year..., or the year after, ..... or the year after,......or maybe the year after that.

    I know Metro, do what other WVU sports media outlets do and just keep talking about FORMER players or about that 2-star kid we're in a bidding war against ECU and FAU!

    Enough horse dung!! When I went to WVU 35 years ago we had bad teams on occasion; I got that!! But we were who we were, a relatively strong regional team that played regional teams and there ALWAYS seemed to be a light at the end of the tunnel! I could take losing if we beat a Pitt, PSU, VT or Cuse in a major sport.

    Ok ok ok ok homers - now were "rich".
    I know we had no choice but to move.

    But that doesn't change the facts. In about every sport we are "almost" this and "next year that". Heck - even WBB fell flat in post season play and a promising BB season ended 1-9.
    We used to be middle-class winners.
    I guess playing teams 1500 miles away and STILL losing is much better.
    Oh; I know, we are rich now.
    Rich losers.

    • Mitch

      @ BR,

      Wow, Mommy not give you a cookie?

    • Mister Man

      And you're not even rich.

    • Dr. Sarcasm

      If you want a regional team with regional competition, stay with div II

    • Aaron

      You may classify yourself as a loser. I do not. Nor do I believe the athletes that participate in extracurricular activities at West Virginia University are losers either. If you feel that way, why follow the institution?

    • FNP

      Quit leaving in the past. Its called the past for a reason.

      The last time i checked, WVU sports were more relevant in the last 10-15 years.

      Its 2014 not 1978. Everything has changed and you have to accept change and move on. Its hard to do but its life.

      If you dont like what you read on here or you only enjoy watching WVU when they are winning then stop following them. Just because you attended WVU doesnt make you a fan nor does it give you the right to bash them everytime a new article comes out.

      • FNP


  • richrod

    jay zoom,
    You're spot on. Rick has had too much Ollie cool aid to drink.

    • FNP

      Hey Jay bloom stick with the Herd articles. Nobody wants you in here.

    • rick

      and it was sooooooo good.

  • richard

    listened to the interview last night on the radio. he seems very well spoken. he answers were precise and clear. as far as his ability......i think we have a winner in this guy. with he and holton coming aboard and the others coming in-----we might be a better team than we are thinking.

  • jay zoom

    the story has yet to be determined if this kid is any good on the court at the college level in the big 12 but after one and done gets finished with him and he treats him like dirt as some of the of his previous players he'll look for a way out. but we are still far from being a force in the big 12 THANKS OLLIE

    • Aaron

      I think after Huggs calls him out for shooting with his right hand, he's transferring to the University of Anchorage after the 19/20 season.

    • rick

      jay zoom........get a life. negative mouth. you just like to get people upset. you think you're funny. ha ha ha. there, make you happy?

  • Steve

    A very minor correction to this article would be that the last time WVU won an NCAA tournament game was in 2011. They defeated Clemson in Tampa.

    • Allan Taylor

      Thanks, Steve. Has been corrected.

  • John

    WVU is going to need him to step in and step up his game immediately. I hope he is as good as advertised or it may be a long year on the court for Huggs.

  • Grant

    Can't to wait to see this kid play. Seems like we have been hearing about this kid for ten years.