Competition in the first round of the NBA playoffs got underway Saturday afternoon.
West Virginia University, and the WVU men’s basketball program, will be well-represented in the NBA’s postseason. Two players and a pair of coaches will represent the Mountaineers on the court, while three more men of WVU acclaim will represent the program from their front office/administrative roles.
Here are all seven WVU connections to pro basketball’s postseason, as the playoffs get underway.
Jevon Carter, Milwaukee Bucks G
Carter has enjoyed a career-year with the Bucks this season. The fifth-year veteran has also helped lead Milwaukee to the best record in the regular season. Carter started 39 games, played in 81, and scored a career-best 8.0 points per game this year. Milwaukee owns the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and is matched up with eighth-seeded Miami in the opening round.
Miles “Deuce” McBride, New York Knicks G
McBride spent over 75 percent of the NBA season with the New York Knicks this year, and became more of a regular part of the rotation in his second year in the league. McBride averaged 3.5 points per game and tallied a career-best 18 points on March 14. Deuce and the fifth-seeded Knicks take on fourth-seeded Cleveland in the first round.
Joe Mazzulla, Boston Celtics head coach
Mazzulla was recently announced as a finalist for NBA Coach of the Year honors. The first-year head coach guided Boston to within one game of the best record in the Association. Mazzulla has navigated the regular season for the first time as head coach, but now the playoffs begin. He was on the sidelines as an assistant coach last season when the Celtics lost in the NBA Finals. Expectations in Boston are for Mazzulla and company to get to the title series once again.
Da’Sean Butler, New York Knicks video coordinator
Butler is in his first season with the Knicks. The former All-Big East Mountaineer was hired by New York in September, following one season as an assistant coach for the College Park Skyhawks in the G-League. Of course, with Butler in New York, that means two Mountaineers are on the Knicks’ payroll.
Mike Gansey, Cleveland Cavaliers general manager
Gansey, one of the best sharp-shooting guards in this century for the Mountaineers, is one of the most important people in Cleveland basketball. Gansey was promoted to GM in February of 2022. That came after a very successful stint as a G-League executive and a multi-year run as assistant general manager of the Cavs, beginning in 2017.
Jerry West, Los Angeles Clippers consultant
The Logo needs no introduction. West has been part of the Clippers organization since 2017. He has held multiple roles with the Clippers, with his current role being a consultant. West won an NBA title as a player with the Los Angeles Lakers, and has won multiple as an executive with the Lakers and Golden State Warriors. The NBA created the Clutch Player of the Year trophy in West’s honor during the season.
Jonnie West, Golden State Warriors director of basketball operations
The younger West is in his fifth season in his current role as director of basketball operations with the Warriors. West and Golden State won the NBA Finals last season over Mazzulla’s Celtics. West and Golden State are the sixth-seed in the Western Conference, and are matched up with the Sacramento Kings in the first round.