CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I had to laugh, at least to myself, when I heard the answer given me by Fairmont State's Isaac Thornton.
I asked him what he thought of West Liberty when he first saw them practice. After all, the No. 1 team in the National Association of Basketball Coaches' NCAA Division II rankings comes across as a little less than intimidating.
"I just thought they were a bunch of white guys with low socks," said Thornton, who is four years removed from winning a Class AAA state title with Martinsburg on the Charleston Civic Center floor.
That was one of the few lesser-known highlights of the final West Virginia Conference Tournament.
The WVC will kind of morph into the Mountain East Conference next year, although MEC Commissioner Reid Amos said it truly is a new conference.
Still, there will be many similarities between the conferences, considering nine of the WVC schools will be in the MEC and only three will be relative - or almost complete - unknowns to the world of Mountain State Division II basketball.
I'm not shedding a tear for a conference that I have followed since the late 1980s.
There have been considerable changes made to the league - the departure of West Virginia Tech and the additions of two out-of-state teams in Seton Hill and Pitt-Johnstown - to become part of a league that had been made up exclusively of West Virginia institutions.
Evolution is necessary for success, and while I've not made my feelings a secret, I get the feeling that many others will be able to move on rather sooner than later.
The league will cling to its rivalries - Wheeling Jesuit versus West Liberty and West Virginia State versus Charleston remain two of the most heated.
While losing Bluefield State, Ohio Valley, Davis & Elkins and Alderson-Broaddus, the new league will maintain West Liberty, Shepherd, Fairmont State, Wheeling Jesuit, Glenville State, Charleston, Concord, West Virginia State and West Virginia Wesleyan.
When it comes to basketball, the most-attended WVC tournament annually, the top five teams remain.
Alderson-Broaddus will be missed badly. Coach Greg Zimmerman, who has made the Battlers one of the league's most feared teams, will shuffle off to the Great Midwest Conference.
Others, who have built firm relationships among WVC coaches and administrators, also will be.
Like Bob Rukavina, the veteran men's basketball coach at Pitt-Johnstown, and Ferne Labati, the longtime Division I coach at Miami (Fla.), who will take her Seton Hill team to the PSAC, made instant friends in the WVC.
Rukavina is an old-school guy with a firm handshake and a smile. Not long after Pitt-Johnstown was eliminated by West Liberty in the tournament quarterfinals, Hilltoppers Coach Jim Crutchfield wished him luck in the PSAC and they talked for about 20 minutes.
Labati lets her assistants do a lot of the heavy lifting, but she hasn't missed a step in her evaluation of talent or coaching ability.
In other words, this isn't as much about talent, the ability of teams to win championships, or being competitive on a national level. At least not for me.