Jarrod West commits to Louisville

Jarrod West is joining one of college basketball’s most illustrious programs.

West announced Wednesday afternoon his commitment to the University of Louisville, where he will use his final year of eligibility and play a second senior season under head coach Chris Mack.

“Coach Mack was really consistent and persistent with his recruitment,” West said. “We talked every day. Louisville is a great program with great history. They’ve won national titles, been to Final Fours and won conference tournaments and they feel they have a team that can compete at that level next season.”

After a stellar four-year career at Marshall in which he became the school’s all-time steals leader, West opted to enter the NCAA transfer portal just over a week ago.

He narrowed down his choice to three finalists — Louisville, Pittsburgh and Ohio State — before ultimately settling on the Cardinals.

The Buckeyes got a commitment Tuesday from 6-1 guard Jamari Wheeler, a Penn State transfer.

“Pitt and Ohio State were really close,” West said. “Ohio State was a little different, because they had a point guard commit last night. Pitt was right there as well and did a great job recruiting me. It’s been an interesting week, but I’m excited to get going.”

West will use his free year of eligibility provided by the NCAA due to the covid pandemic and be immediately eligible.

He has not been on Louisville’s campus, but says excitement is already building to play in the Atlantic Coast Conference and in one of college basketball’s top venues, the KFC Yum! Center, which opened in 2010.

“It seats 22,000 and kind of looks like an NBA arena,” West said. “It’s awesome. That’s part of this whole process is getting on that stage and playing at that level.”

As a freshman at Marshall, the 5-foot-11 West made a major impact on a Thundering Herd team that won the Conference USA Tournament and the school’s first NCAA Tournament game. He started 35 games and averaged 7.8 points, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals.

Although West never got back to the Big Dance at Marshall, he averaged at least two steals per game each of his last three seasons, and a career-high 14.2 points as a junior.

West poured in 12.5 points to go with six assists on average as a senior, while raising his field goal and three-point percentages to career-best marks of 45.8 and 40.8.

West starred at Notre Dame High School under his father Jarrod West, who played point guard at West Virginia University from 1995-1998. The younger West led the Irish to the 2017 Class A state championship and was the Bill Evans Award winner that season as West Virginia’s top prep player.

West, a Clarksburg native, joins a program that won the national championship in 2013 and reached the Final Four the season before.

Although Louisville did not qualify for the NCAA Tournament this season, the selection committee had the Cardinals as the first team out after finishing 13-7.

“Had Oregon State and Georgetown not won their leagues, they’d probably have gotten in,” West said.

The Cardinals were led in scoring by 6-foot-1 graduate transfer Carlik Jones, who averaged 16.8 points. Jones has not revealed whether he will use his free year of eligibility and return.

“There will be an opportunity for sure,” West said.

Mack recently wrapped up his third season at Louisville after a successful stint at Xavier in which he helped the Musketeers reach the Sweet 16 four times and Elite 8 once.

“Coach Mack is a proven winner,” West said. “Louisville had a lot going for them.”

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