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Jerry West, West Virginia’s favorite son, to get one more Hall of Fame induction

By Bob Hertzel for the Times West Virginian

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It is sometimes strange, almost eerie, how entwined relationships become in sports and we were reminded of it this past week when West Virginia legend Jerry West was elected — for third time in three different categories — to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

As amazing as that is, having been enshrined as player, as a member of the 1960 United States Olympic team and now as a lifetime contributor to the game, it is just as amazing that West is still active and relevant 64 years after he played his final game as Mountaineer.

And that is where we will begin the story that is behind this latest induction as a contributor begins.

It was March 12, 1960, when West played his final game as a Mountaineer in winning, in Charlotte, beating St. Joseph’s, 106-100, in a game that typified West’s senior season. He scored 37 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and had three assists to finish off a season in which he had 15 games of 30 or more points, three of them 40 or more, and missed by a basket of having six more games of 30 points in the season.

On the St. Joseph’s team that final game was a player named Paul Westhead, who suffered through a dismal game against West, making just two of 13 shots.

We fast forward now through his playing career with the Lakers, a career that even today has him listed on most Top 10 NBA players of all-time lists. There was only one championship during that playing career, but you must remember the Boston Celtics dynasty with Bill Russell was its greatest then and West’s Lakers were the Celtics’ Washington Generals come playoff time.

West wound up coaching the Lakers in 1977 to 1979, to be replaced by Jack McKinney. McKinney, however, was injured in a serious accident on his bike and the Lakers opted to name an interim coach.

That interim coach picked by team owner Dr. Jerry Buss was Paul Westhead.

Read more: https://www.timeswv.com/news/monday_news/jerry-west-west-virginias-favorite-son-to-get-one-more-hall-of-fame-induction/article_0c4677a4-f556-11ee-8c66-cf59412279fb.html

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