MORGANTOWN — The lights came down long ago at the Charleston Civic Center, and the results of the 2018 boys’ basketball state tournament have long been completed.
That means little to University High point guard Kaden Metheny, even three months after the fact.
To him, the wound left behind after the Hawks’ surprising 48-45 loss to Martinsburg in the state semifinals is still as fresh as mountain water.
“I’ll be honest, I still lay in bed and think about it all the time,” Metheny said after a morning three-week summer workout Monday, with the Hawks. “It keeps me up at night. That definitely hurts, especially with the group of seniors we had last season. I wanted to share a good moment with them.”
That is a small glimpse into the mind of Metheny, who is also working his way through a number of college elite camps this summer in order to get a look at different schools and have them take a look at him, too.
Metheny already holds one college scholarship offer from Drexel University, in Philadelphia.
The Dragons are coached by Morgantown native Zach Spiker, who, as the story goes, first saw Metheny during a UHS workout heading into Metheny’s sophomore year.
After watching, Spiker proclaimed Metheny was already better than the point guard who was starting for the Dragons.
That is an illustration to the type of ability Metheny has. He has the mind to compliment it well.
“His IQ for the game is off the charts,” UHS head coach Joe Schmidle said. “On more than one occasion, I’ve talked to him during games and asked him what he thinks or what he’s seeing out there. He has the ability to think through a game and see things that maybe others don’t see.”
Metheny sees the good and the bad and is able to break it down and replay it again and again, almost as if to make an attempt to slow it all down enough in order to change it.
He can’t, of course. Martinsburg still erased that 16-point lead. He is still called for that controversial charging foul with 3.5 seconds remaining.
“That was a tough moment,” Metheny said. “That’s going to be with me my entire life.”
It is in no way fair to lump an entire game into those final moments, something Metheny realizes, yet it does little to numb the pain.
He said it will all serve as motivation a season later, one that will come with some new faces on the UHS roster and a lot of new roles for the few returning players.
“It’s definitely a little weird looking around now,” Metheny said. “I came in as a freshman and all of those older guys were there. I looked up to them.
“A lot of people probably think we’re not going to be very good, because they’re not here. We have a lot of good players here, ones that most people don’t know about. They’re working their butts off to fill in the open spots.”
Metheny, too, is no longer the new kid on the block. Taking on a leadership role, he said, is somewhat challenging.
“I’m trying to become a little more vocal, which is something I’ve never had to do much of before,” he said.
And then there is the fine line between playing as a team leader and playing as someone who is simply trying to take over every game.
“A lot of people think it’s going to be a one-man show next year, but it’s not,” Schmidle said. “He averaged almost 20 points a game last year and we’ll need more of that, but Kaden’s biggest challenge will be to keep everyone involved.
“He’s pretty level-headed and he sees the big picture. He has the ability to keep everyone involved, but when it’s crunch time, he has a whole other level that he goes to. I don’t know if I’ve ever been around a kid like that.”