For Keddy Johnson, Emmitt Matthews, and Erik Stevenson, the fifth year seniors’ regular season collegiate careers will round out together in Saturday’s senior night in Morgantown, but their individual paths have been very different in getting here.
“I think everybody’s life is mapped to already before it’s started. I think just giving credit to God and the journey… it is what it is and it’s going to be what it’s supposed to be,” said Matthews.
For Matthews and Stevenson, their journey began as best friends playing for the same AAU team growing up in Washington.
“Our last high school game was against each other and our last college game is with each other, so that’s something that is hilarious. It’s been a journey, just the way me and him have grown up,” said Matthews.
For Matthews, his collegiate journey began in Morgantown, playing his first three seasons for the Mountaineers before leaving for home to play in Washington during COVID times. With one season of eligibility remaining, he returned to West Virginia, a place he considers his “second home”, to wrap-up his career.
“On and off the floor it’s been all I could ever ask for coming back here. I’m trying to keep my emotions on a level playing field, I don’t want to get to high or too low,” said Matthews. “It means a lot more to me than people could ever understand.”
Though Matthews’ career had multiple stops, Stevenson’s journey has been, as often joked about by himself and his team, probably the most all over the place as imaginable.
“It’s kind of unreal how you encircle it if you look at the story, and now ending up at West Virginia,” said Stevenson.
The story began at Wichita State, where he spent his first two seasons before transferring back home to Washington which ended in a less than positive experience for the Pacific Northwest native.
He then moved to the east coast to become a Gamecock, but with his head coach being fired at the end of the season, he once again was forced to look for a new home, ultimately resulting in coming to Morgantown.
“It’s been a journey for me. It’s been a lot of ups and downs, seems like more downs than ups. But I’ve been everywhere, been through almost everything you could think of,” said Stevenson. “It’s been fun. It’s been real fun. Obviously we’ve had our ups and downs with winning games and what not, but overall, the team, this has been the best team that I’ve been a part of with guys loving each other and wanting to be around each other.”
Unlike Stevenson, Keddy Johnson’s has only known one D1 team, and that alone has made his journey different entirely from his fellow two seniors.
Hailing from Texas, Johnson remained in the Lone Star state for his first two seasons, playing in junior college before coming to West Virginia in his third year.
Now, three seasons later, despite seeing teammate upon teammate transfer, Johnson will finish his Division One career right where it began, in the Coliseum.
“It means the world to me, the last three years, the only fans I’ve known are West Virginia fans, so I think that’ll be a pretty sad and happy moment at the same time,” said Johnson.
Now with the three individuals looking down memory lane, the most pivotal moment of their basketball career’s lies right around the corner with a bid to the NCAA Tournament likely just around the corner, the perfect storybook ending for the three Mountaineers.
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