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Gonzaga’s Josh Perkins loves West Virginia, but not the Mountaineers

UPDATED: Wed., March 22, 2017, 9:52 p.m.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Josh Perkins loves West Virginia.

No, not the Mountaineers. The only time he’s ever paid attention to them was earlier this week before the Zags take them on in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Thursday.

Perkins loves the state of West Virginia – the city of Huntington to be exact. That’s because Huntington is where some of his fondest memories reside.

Huntington is where Perkins moved to from his home in Denver during his final year of high school. He had already committed to Gonzaga and was attending Huntington St. Joseph Prep, a college preparatory school that primarily focuses on basketball.

Huntington is where he met his current girlfriend, who now goes to West Virginia’s rival school Marshall University, located in Huntington. Huntington is also where he met the Hinchman family, who housed Perkins for a year while he played basketball for Huntington Prep.

In the last three years that Perkins has been at Gonzaga, the guard said he has maintained steady contact with the Hinchmans.

Craig and Jenny Hinchman and their three children have made sure to watch Perkins in a GU uniform whenever they can. Craig and Jenny flew to Las Vegas at the beginning of the month to watch Perkins play in the West Coast Conference tournament. Perkins said he saw them when GU traveled to Tennessee to play the Volunteers in December, and the Hinchmans also traveled to Chicago last year when Gonzaga fell to Syracuse in the Sweet 16.

Now Perkins has the family’s name tattooed on his rib, a subtle reminder that he has another family on the East Coast pulling for him.

“They’re my second family. I’m glad I got the opportunity to meet those people,” Perkins said.

Perkins said he remembers a few other things from West Virginia, like the heavy snowfall Huntington had to endure that winter. He had never had to deal with driving in the snow before while living in Denver.

“I just hate driving in the snow,” Perkins said, but West Virginia’s awful winter was only preparing him for the long, white winters he would have to endure in Spokane.

“I’m used to it now. Just got to get an SUV or truck because I can’t deal with the car in the snow no more,” Perkins said.

Perkins also recalled that he rarely came across a West Virginia fan in Huntington.

“Where I was a majority of people hated (West Virginia),” Perkins said. “Most people were for Marshall,” which was located right next to Huntington Prep.

That might not be the case this week in San Jose, when GU fights the Mountaineers for the right to play in the Elite Eight. But the Zags can only hope for fans like those in Huntington – fans pulling for a big win over the Mountaineers.

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