Quinn Slazinski has seen it all in college basketball, but may have found a home at WVU

MORGANTOWN — Quinn Slazinski’s life journey has been a story always on the move.

His hometown is listed as Houston, and he considers himself a “Texas kid,” yet parts of his childhood was spent moving back and forth between Houston and Detroit.

As the thought goes, though, country roads eventually lead you to West Virginia, which is where the 6-foot-9 forward now finds himself as part of a revamped WVU men’s hoops roster.

Yet this is the second time Slazinski has lived in the Mountain State, which has seemingly played a vital role in his journey.

Prior to enrolling at Louisville as a freshman in 2019, he spent two years playing at Huntington Prep.

“They used to put 12 of us in a van and drive us up to the (WVU) football games back when Will Grier was the quarterback,” Slazinski said. “This place always had an at-home vibe.”

His basketball career thus far reads as both celebration and hardship.

At Louisville, he played for a program that reached No. 1 in the AP poll back in 2019.

After transferring to Iona, he played two seasons under the tutelage of Hall-of-Fame coach Rick Pitino.

Yet nothing just quite seemed to fit.

“New York was a little too crazy,” he said.

And then the words slip out of the forward’s train of thought so naturally and straight forward. Whatever Slazinski has been searching for, he just may have found it in Morgantown.

“I’m happy to be home,” is the way he describes his feeling toward WVU. “I love the place already and I’ve only been here for about two months. Everyone treats you like family here.”

What does Slazinski bring to the table? Well, that’s the thing, he’s never really had a true chance to make an impact.

On a loaded Louisville team as a freshman, his role was to simply fit it, the role many freshmen find themselves in early in their careers.

Then COVID-19 hit, which prompted a change of scenery to Iona.

He played just one full season there, starting 23 times for a team that won 25 games and lost to Florida in the first round of the NIT.

A year later, a foot injury never quite healed and he eventually had season-ending surgery. He was having his best statistical season when it happened, averaging 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. Slazinski is hoping to receive a medical redshirt for that season in order to play another one at WVU next year.

He briefly followed Pitino to St. John’s before deciding to transfer to WVU.

It’s not lost on him that Pitino and St. John’s will visit the Coliseum on Dec. 1.

“If you know me, you know that I’m looking at that game and I’m excited for that game,” Slazinski said. “I’m the ultimate competitor. I know some of the guys on that team. I was roommates with a couple of them at Iona. Everyone in that locker room will know that I want to come in and kill them. They’re not going to let up, either. Yeah, I’ve had that game circled for a while.”

Slazinski will play in that game in a unique circumstance, having gone from a Hall-of-Fame coach with 35 years of college coaching to Josh Eilert at WVU, who is in his first season.

“There’s a difference,” he said. “(Pitino) got his first job when my parents weren’t even married yet. When you look at stuff like that, it’s going to be a great opportunity for me to get a different look at coaching.”

So, just who is Slazinski? He’s a young man who has constantly played with a chip on his shoulder.

He wasn’t a nationally-heralded recruit when he enrolled at Huntington Prep and is proud of the way he worked his way into the starting lineup there.

He’s been faced with one challenge after another in college, too.

That may have played a role in his decision to come to WVU. Slazinski was signed by Eilert late, only after the drama had unfolded with Bob Huggins’ resignation from the school in June.

“It’s kind of crazy, because I’ve been in some locker rooms where stuff has happened,” he said. “It happens at every school.

“I think it’s surprising to people how easy it is to focus just on basketball. Basketball has kind of been a sanctuary for us since we were kids. If anything went wrong, you can bounce a basketball a couple of times and everything would be OK. I think that’s no different here. We’re all aware of the turmoil. Really that just gives us extra motivation to try and fight, try to compete and win.”