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Mountaineers in the Pros

Watch: Joe Mazzulla Reflects on Jerry West and His Impact



Joe Mazzulla Eastern Conference Finals press conference

Boston Celtics HC Joe Mazzulla was asked about West Virginia legend Jerry West before game three of the NBA Finals. Mazzulla answered about the impact West had on him in his life.

Mazzulla proceeded to tell a couple of short stories about how West laid it into him when he was struggling during his junior year at WVU, whether it was a phone call from West or oversleeping before the UCLA game.

“He had a tough way of showing that he loved you, but he was super super competitive and he really, really cared about you,” Mazzulla said. “He showed it in a way that spoke to my language. He’ll be missed and praying for the family.”

On Wednesday morning, West died at the age of 86, as the state of West Virginia, WVU and the whole basketball world mourned the loss.

West became a star at WVU from 1957-1960. He led the Mountaineers to the program’s first Final Four appearance in 1959 and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament as West Virginia fell in the championship game.

Before establishing a legendary legacy as an executive, one that will see him enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame just for that portion of his career alone in August, West, who was the second overall pick in the 1960 NBA Draft, played in the NBA from 1960-74, all with the Los Angeles Lakers. The West Virginia native averaged 27.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists throughout his career.

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