Led by a transfer from St. Bonaventure and a hometown 6-11 three-point shooter, the West Virginia Mountaineers were something special from 2004-06.
The school that the Logo himself put on the map was so surprisingly dominant that they reached consecutive Sweet 16’s, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in ‘05. Surprising, because they held a 46-22 record during those two seasons.
And they were led by even two more surprising candidates: Mike Gansey and Kevin Pittsnogle.
Remember Jay Bilas going loco over Gansey on Draft night in 2006? Gansey was projected to go as high as the mid-first round by many analyst’s mock boards, but we all know how mock boards turn out— Cedric Simmons, you’re double-double with fries is ready. Instead, both Gansey and his tattooed-teammate, Pittsnogle, both went undrafted to the dismay of Bilas and Mountaineer nation. With Renaldo Balkman being chosen in the first round and the Midwest twosome left to fight over summer league minutes, their future in basketball seemed cloudy.
During Gansey and Pittsnogle’s final two seasons in Morgantown, they had their fair share of exciting moments. I still remember watching Gansey go off for 29 points when the Mountaineers stunned the Chris Paul-led Demon Deacons in double overtime in the 2005 NCAA Tourney.
Pittsnogle was the smooth shooting center; a regular American Andrea Bargnani with calf tats. Gansey was the WVU workhorse and at 6-4, could get to the cup on just about anyone.
Where are these two Mountain Men now?
Nearly four years after their departure from mainstream college ball, both Gansey and Pittsnogle have decided to put their basketball careers on hold.
After bouncing around the CBA, D-League and a stint overseas, the ‘Snogle is now a middle school teacher in his hometown of Martinsburg W.Va. He’s probably teaching kids the technical art of the baby-J.
As for Mr. Gansey, after being waived by the Miami Heat right before his would-be rookie year in favor of Chris Quinn— a decision that still makes my head itch —he caught on with a variety of clubs. Most recently, Gansey posted 8.7 points a game over in Germany with Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. According to Mike Casazza of WVU Sports, Gansey too has decided to take a break from playing and has apparently become a sports reporter in Miami, Florida.
It’s too bad that neither player was able to make a solid impact in the professional ranks, but refreshing to see both make a run at another career. I feel like this is a good transition into the NCAA commercial, “There are 360000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of us will be going pro in something other than sports.”
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