Retire the yellow shoes, and move in Murray and guard Staten

The Big East has seen the last of WVU. The Mountaineers join the Big 12 next season.

Retire the yellow shoes!

Try to remember Tommie McCune’s name.

Insert both Aaric Murray and Juwan Staten into the starting lineup.

And don’t go wide-eyed and with hat in hand to Stillwater, Ames, Norman, Waco, and Manhattan (Kansas).

In the aftermath of West Virginia’s quiet exit from the NCAA basketball tournament, most Mountaineer people will turn their attention to football and the prospects for the first year in the Big 12 Conference.

But first the cleanup from the 2011-12 season must get mothballed.

Darryl “Truck” Bryant has played his last game. His final shooting figures showed him making 35.8 percent of his field goal attempts. On three-pointers, he made 30.9 percent of his tries. Bryant’s 80 turnovers were the team’s most.

The yellow shoes weren’t as lucky as Dorothy’s ruby slippers had been in the Wizard of Oz. Since West Virginia is joining the Big 12, maybe Dorothy and Toto will give it some advice on what to expect in Kansas where they had their upbringing.

Kevin Jones’ 13 points against Gonzaga lowered his final scoring average to 19.9. With the wholehearted approval of Bob Huggins, Jones will eventually be selected into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.

Jones and Bryant were the only two seniors.

Little-used freshman Tommie McCune has indicated he will transfer. His name has already been removed from the team roster.

The two tallish centers — Pat Forsythe and Kevin Noreen — both finished the season on the injured list. Neither contributed while healthy. Neither has any necessary skills to compete with LaSalle transfer, Aaric Murray. Murray will be eligible and the 6-foot-10 scorer/shot blocker will be a necessity on most nights in the Big 12.

This season’s five remaining freshmen — Gary Browne, Aaron Brown, Jabarie Hinds, Keaton Miles, and Paul Herbert Williamson — all have substantial room for improvement.

Murray will be a starter. Staten, who started as a freshman at Dayton a year ago, will be Huggins’ point guard. Deniz Kilicli will be a senior. He will continue to make 55.5 percent of his free throws and be haphazard and sporatic in his all-round play. But he will start.

Dominique Rutledge made Kilicli’s free throw numbers look like Jerry West’s compared to his. Rutledge made an abyssmal 33 percent of his foul shots. He had 20 turnovers in just 218 total minutes in WVU’s 19-14 overall season.

Browne and Hinds are point guards. Will both return . . . or will one of both transfer? Miles and Brown are basketball opposites. Miles started 30 games and scored a grand total of 46 points. Brown started only the NCAA tournament game against Gonzaga . . . because there never was a player found who he could guard.

One of them might quietly leave. Or both could stay around to see why the inside of the “Phog” Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas is considered sacred ground by all Jayhawks.

Five freshmen (not including invited walk-on Williamson) were brought in to possibly cover the losses of Dalton Pepper (who transferred to Temple), Joe Mazzulla, John Flowers, Jonnie West, and Cam Thoroughman.

Will the same number of freshmen be summoned this year? And how many of them would be moved straight into the 2012-13 starting lineup?

How will the Big 12 compare with the basketball Big East? Oklahoma, Texas Christian, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State are not in this year’s NCAA tournament, yet none of them is as lowly as DePaul or Providence.

Kansas, Texas, Baylor, Iowa State, and Kansas State were called as at-large teams to the tournament. Missouri is the conference champion and is leaving to join the Southeastern Conference. Texas A&M is also moving out and going to the SEC.

The yellow shoes have been retired. If Nike sends another few pairs to Morgantown, they better be worn by the Easter Bunny as leads a parade of revelers toward an egg hunt on the Evansdale campus.

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