West Virginia’s depth took a hit on Wednesday as the Mountaineers announced that freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell would miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn Achilles tendon in his left leg.
Cottrell wasn’t scoring much for the Mountaineers, as he joined a team that returned most of its roster from a season ago. So, his 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game don’t really show what the Mountaineers are hoping from him in the future.
Cottrell was one of the most significant pieces of the Mountaineers’ 2020 recruiting class, as he was ranked No. 80 overall by 247Sports.com and considered the No. 3 recruit in West Virginia after a bally-hooed 2019-20 at Huntington Prep in Huntington, WV. The fact that the Mountaineers were able to keep the 6-foot-10 MaxPreps.com All-American forward and West Virginia Player of the Year in-state was quite the coup.
“Everyone associated with Mountaineer Basketball is saddened by the news that we received on Isaiah,” coach Bob Huggins said in a statement released at WVUSports.com. “Isaiah is a great teammate, a wonderful kid and a hard worker who will do everything asked of him to get back to 100 percent and back on the court.”
Cottrell hit six points twice this season, coming against Gonzaga and North Texas. He had a season-high four rebounds against Georgetown. He played just five minutes against Northeastern on Tuesday before suffering the injury.
The Mountaineers still have one of the best frontcourts in the Big 12, if not the country, even without Cottrell. The Mountaineers start Oscar Tshiebwe (coming off a double-double against Northeastern) and Derek Culver, and have Gabe Osabuohein coming off the bench. Cottrell’s injury may open up more time off the bench for redshirt freshman forward Jalen Bridges or true freshman Taj Thweatt. Bridges played a season-high 17 minutes against Northeastern, scoring six points and grabbing five rebounds.
The Mountaineers are expected to continue Big 12 play on Saturday at Oklahoma.
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