MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – James Long and Jevon Carter were teammates during their WVU hoops days and their friendship has continued ever since, no matter how far apart the sport that brought them together takes them.

With Long as the head coach of Best Virginia, it isn’t too surprising he’s the one who got JC to come on board as an assistant coach.

James Long talks Best Virginia through a timeout during a TBT 2021 game in Charleston. (Photo: Ben Solomon/TBT)

“KJ (Kevin Jones) and I gave him the best recruiting pitch of all time. We really worked on him,” Long joked in an exclusive interview with Gold and Blue Nation.

The one thing Long isn’t joking about is the story of Carter joining Best Virginia isn’t as cut and dry as it seems.

Carter, one of the top players in Mountaineer men’s basketball history, was back in Morgantown last week and met up with Long for some workouts.

Flash forward to the wee hours of June 15, the roster deadline for TBT. Jones said it was close to one or two o’clock in the morning when he, Long and Best Virginia general manager Greg Richardson were talking about the lineup’s finalization.

Carter entered the room as a bystander and left as an assistant coach.

“JC loves basketball more than anybody I think I’ve ever been around. We just got to talking about it. Let me preface this, too, by saying I had asked Jevon to coach two weeks ago and he big timed me,” Long said. “Then when we were talking about it in the room, he was all giddy and excited. He was saying, ‘Oh wow, this is going to be great, this is fun,” and he wanted to be a part of it. It didn’t take much convincing.”

After wrapping up his fourth season in the NBA, one can understand why Carter was taking his time getting around to the notifications on his phone. That doesn’t change his excitement to help Best Virginia on its quest for $1 million.

Jevon Carter celebrates in 2018. (Photo: Scott Lituchy/Gold and Blue Nation)

“He can’t be there for the whole lead-up, but he is going to fly in early enough to help,” Long said. “He loves basketball. He’s got great input. He is around some of the best basketball minds in the world right now and he’s going to be a great addition.”

Carter, the King of Press Virginia, is forever enshrined in WVU history. He ended his collegiate career by becoming the first Power 5 men’s basketball player to eclipse 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 500 assists and 300 steals in his career. He holds the single-season record for steals and assists and is also the program’s all-time steals leader.

He also earned two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year awards and won three national defensive player of the year nods.

Persistence is what earned Carter a spot on the wall of Mountaineer Immortals. According to Long, the same thing landed JC on his TBT coaching staff.

“Hopefully people will be excited to see him as well and come out and support,” Long said. “He’s excited to be there. He did big time me at first.”

Best Virginia, the top seed in the West Virginia Regional, will open TBT action against No. 8 Virginia Dream at 7 p.m. on July 24. The full bracket can be found here.