March 26, 2011

Manchin and Moss play in charity game | The Elkins Inter-Mountain

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin battled for rebounds with NFL standout Randy Moss during the Governor's Charity Basketball Game at the Kenneth "Honey" Rubenstein Juvenile Center on Friday.

Manchin and Moss took part in the game that helped the Kenneth "Honey" Rubenstein Juvenile Center cadets raise money for Tucker County Helping Hands.

"We started this last year," said Manchin, D-W.Va. "We told the young men this will be your night."

Manchin said the cadets at the center picked their charity and, even though they may be at the juvenile center, they will make something of themselves.

"These are young men that will contribute to society," he said.

"Tonight is their night. I guarantee they will be successful," Manchin said.

Manchin said Moss spoke to the Rubenstein Eagles before the game in the locker room.

"Randy is an inspiration to them," he said.

Manchin led a team consisting of the West Virginia State Police and West Virginia Division of Corrections Commissioner Jim Rubenstein against Randy Moss, West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services Community Resources Coordinator Parnel Legros, Donnie Jones, Mark Wright, Greg Dennis and cadets from the center.

The Eagles avenged their loss from last year, defeating the Governor's Team coached by Manchin by a score of 117-89. Before the game, Manchin told the crowd his team would even "cheat" to get an upper hand on the Eagles and Moss.

"For us to be competitive, we have to cheat," Manchin said.

The Governor's Team controlled the opening tip and went on a four-point run. Moss and Manchin both checked into the game for the first time with 9:48 remaining in the first quarter. Manchin lined up beside Moss as one of the Eagles attempted free throws.

The Governor's Team had a 25-11 lead at the end of the first quarter. Moss came to the sideline and was called over by his former coach, Jim Fout, from DuPont High School. Fout gave Moss advice on the game. With 10:53 left in the second quarter, Moss yelled to the crowd, "Don't worry, we are going to win this."

With 6:40 remaining in the second, Moss nabbed two steals and turned them into points, cutting the lead to 37-30. He later brought the game to within two, 39-37, after nailing a three-pointer. The Eagles captured the lead at the end of the half, 45-41.

During halftime, Psimed, the sponsor of the event, presented a $1,000 check to Tucker County Helping Hands.

The Eagles took over in the second half, and Manchin resorted to tactics to try to bring his team back into the game.

Manchin deployed anywhere from six to nine players in the final two quarters of the game. At one point, Manchin dawned a referee shirt and whistle to regain an edge.

He didn't stop there - he also took one of the Eagles, Donnie Jones, and put him in one of his team's gold jerseys.

With only two minutes left in the game, Manchin had nine players on the court, but that still wasn't enough to slow down the Eagles. At the final buzzer, the Eagles captured the victory with a tally of 117-89.

After the game, Moss posed for pictures with the Rubenstein Center cadets, took the mic and spoke to the crowd.

Moss invited the cadets in the stands to join his team on the court.

He thanked everyone who came out to the event and said a big deal was made over him being there, but the game was not about him.

"It's not on me," he said. "Parents, it's not on you - it's on these young men."

Moss said he would see the crowd next year and, as long as he was playing for the Eagles, they would not lose the trophy.

Legros said he knew Moss through mutual friends and the pair began to talk, which prompted Moss to play in the game.

"It is a great opportunity for the kids to see a product like Randy and that they can do well," Legros said.

West Virginia Division of Juvenile Services Director Dale Humphreys said the charity game began last year when Manchin was still serving as governor. After the game, there was a change in the cadets, he said.

"We noticed a big change in their self-confidence," he said. "We asked him (Moss) if he could come up and he said as long as the game was not about him. This is one of the many things he has done for juveniles across the state."


By:  Anthony Gaynor