MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Walk-on players can often be fan favorites. They are easy to root for, sort of the ultimate underdogs. Freshman walk-on Spencer Macke is learning that first-hand this season.
Anytime West Virginia has built up a large lead late in a game this season, the WVU student section has started chanting “Macke, Macke” wanting the freshman to get into the game.
“I love it,” Macke said. “I love it when I come in and hear my name chanted, I love it.”
Before Saturday Macke had appeared in two games this season, a 25-point win over Boston and a 31-point win over Austin Peay. In both of those games, Macke’s teammates tried hard to get him the ball and let him score, but Macke missed all three shots he took.
On Saturday, a 26-point win over Nicholls, Macke again entered the game amidst chants of his name. Again, his teammates got him the ball, but Macke missed another shot.
Nicholls was called on a technical foul with a minute left and coach Bob Huggins chose Macke as the player to shoot the free throws.
Macke made both, scoring his first two career points, much to the delight of the WVU home crowd.
— Cody Nespor (@CodyNesporSRU) December 14, 2019
After making the second free throw, Macke was embraced by his teammates on the floor, celebrating for him.
“He didn’t seem to rattled by it really,” Huggins said. “I think the guys were more excited about it than he was.”
With conference play fast approaching, WVU will likely stop blowing out teams, limiting how many games Macke will get in. Despite this, Macke said he is not concerned about playing time.
“I’m not worried about it right now,” Macke said. “Maybe when I’m a junior or senior I hope to start making a real impact.”
Do not let the walk-on status fool you, Macke can play. He averaged 34.9 points and 15.8 rebounds per game as a senior at Silver Grove High School, but he just was not receiving any scholarship offers to play anywhere.
Macke’s mother, a news anchor in the area, knew Huggins from his time as the head coach at Cincinnati. She told Huggins about her son and Huggins let Spencer walk-on at WVU. Now he has become a fan favorite.
“It seems like the whole student body likes him,” Huggins said. “He said the girls in high school called him ‘smack daddy.'”