Ruoff retires from basketball, joins Mountaineers’ staff as grad assistant

— by Taylor Kennedy

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Alex Ruoff, West Virginia’s all-time leader in 3-pointers, is swapping his basketball shoes for a whistle.

After enjoying a 12-year professional career, Ruoff announced through Twitter his intention to call it a career on the hardwood. He played in various countries, including Germany, Spain, and France.

“I am very fortunate to have done it,” Ruoff said reflecting on his career. “I never anticipated having such a career and living a life like that. I took it step by step, almost like a goal mentality. Looking back on it, I am thankful to have done it.”

Ruoff played professionally in six different countries and appeared in 276 total games. Having such longevity was vital and allowed Ruoff to appreciate the connections he created with his teammates.

“The camaraderie with my teammates enjoying the wins were great, and I will have those memories forever. The bus rides home after a road win, nights out with teammates, and exploring the different cultures will be what I remember the most,” Ruoff noted. “There is so much more than getting paid to play basketball. Being able to see the world and meeting people outside of our culture are things I enjoyed as well.”

Ruoff, who also played in the NBA G League, averaged double figure scoring in seven seasons, including a career-high 17 points per game with BG Gottingen in Germany in the 2013-14 season.

His game evolved after Ruoff displayed his sharpshooting abilities with the Mountaineers from 2005-09.

“I had an incredible support system,” Ruoff noted. “One rare thing we have as Mountaineers is Bob Huggins and his coaching staff. Every summer, when we as professionals come back, we are training and in the gym. We use the facility, and we compete against the current players. It is an environment to get better. That helped me a lot. I don’t think a lot of pros have that.”

Hours after Ruoff’s retirement, the West Virginia men’s basketball team announced that Ruoff would join the staff as a graduate assistant.

“I am thankful for the opportunity. I am excited to start here,” Ruoff stated. “I am excited to represent this state once again. I want to try and help these young guys as much as possible.”

Ruoff was one of the five upperclassmen on Huggins’s first West Virginia roster in 2007-08.

“He has been a big influence in my life not only on the court but off the court as well,” Ruoff said. “We have gotten closer over the years. I have grown to respect him even more than I did before. Being a player forged in fire under Bob Huggins, and was able to take that and have a successful career. I am a prime example of how you can be successful playing here. That is what I am hoping to bring back to these players. That kind of work ethic and mentality.”

Ruoff started his time at WVU playing for John Beilein for two seasons. For his college career, the 6-foot-6 guard made 261 triples and scored 1,420 career points, good for No. 21 in program history.

He was a member of the West Virginia alumni-based TBT team, Best Virginia, in 2021, but did not play in the event this summer.

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