They definitely took the road less traveled.
West Virginia’s Teyvon Myers and Tarik Phillip have always been basketball players, but the two Brooklyn-born guards have taken their talents to the next level in Morgantown this season.
The backcourt pair has helped their team to a top-15 ranking in the Associated Press Poll, but the journey it took to get there has been as challenging as it has been rewarding.
Myers spent his first two years of high school playing for coach Ruth Lovelace at Boys and Girls High School in Bedford-Stuyvesant before taking his talents to Grover Cleveland High in Reseda, Calif. His next two stops were Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif. and Williston State College in Williston, N.D. Myers said relocating so often wasn’t always easy, but the experience enhanced his overall basketball knowledge.
“It made me resilient because I had to face so many different things,” Myers said. “It made me grow up kind of fast because I was away from home as well. I was able to learn different styles of basketball because I was at different places.”
Phillip’s path didn’t include as many pit stops, but finding an ultimate hoops home still took some time.
He played for Brooklyn College Academy and led the team to a Public School Athletic League “B” city championship as a sophomore, then spent a year at Queen City Prep in Charlotte, N.C. He moved on to Independence Community College in Independence, Kan. before joining the squad at West Virginia.
Phillip is the first to admit he’s surprised at where he’s landed, competing against some of the best basketball talent in the country.
“I didn’t imagine I would be playing in the Big 12,” Phillip said. “I’m just happy it’s here.”
Myers has left it all out on the court in his senior campaign. He’s averaging a career-best 6.3 points per game and shooting 44.4 percent from beyond the arc. Phillip, meanwhile, has already matched his stats from last season with 9.3 points per game. Both players, however, aren’t concerned with individual stats — they’re just trying to be the best players possible.
“I’m trying to work on everything,” Phillip said. “Shooting, passing, whatever the team needs, I’ll do it.”
West Virginia (23–6, 11–5), ranked No. 7 in the AP poll, has flexed its muscle this season. The Mountaineers have wins against two of the top teams in the country — No. 1 Baylor on Jan. 10 and No. 2 Kansas on Jan. 24. West Virginia also pulled out a 61–60 win on the road against Texas Christian University on Feb. 24.
Phillip and Myers are part of a Mountaineers senior class determined to wrap up their college careers on top. The team fell to No. 14 seed Stephen F. Austin at the Barclay’s Center in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last season. Myers only played four minutes off the bench in the loss, but said the loss gave his team perspective and fueled its fire this year.
“We’re trying to win it all,” Myers said. “We believe we can win it all, we want to win it all and we’re going to do anything we can to win it all.”