Bob Huggins knows what he has on his West Virginia team entering this season. He also knows what he probably doesn’t have entering this season.
“I think we can make shots,” Huggins said at Big 12 Media Day on Wednesday. “I’m not sure we can guard anyone and keep them from making shots. But we have four guys that can surround the (3-point line) and make shots.”
The Mountaineers lost some considerable talent and leadership from last year’s team and when Huggins was asked who was going to step up into that leadership role, in his typical style, he wasn’t sure.
“I wish I knew the answer to that (stepping up),” Huggins said. “Losing Derek (Culver) is a big hit. He got hard rebounds. Not just rebounds, hard rebounds. I don’t know that we have a replacement for that. When we got Deuce (Miles McBride) we weren’t sure he would play for us because of his bad ankle. They were saying there was a chance he would never play again. And he had a great career. We don’t get guys like that a lot. We get guys that have to work like crazy to be able to play in this league.”
The Mountaineers are coming off an 19-10 season, during which West Virginia lost to Oklahoma State in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Tournament. The Mountaineers did go to the NCAA Tournament, defeating Morehead State in the first round and falling to Syracuse in the second round. With the win over Morehead State, Huggins won his 900th career game.
The Mountaineers lost a few players to the transfer portal, but their most notable losses were to the professional ranks, as McBride and Culver left for the NBA. McBride was selected by the New York Knicks while Culver is looking for a job in the G League.
The Mountaineers return two great guards in Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil. Along with that is the return of forwards Gabe Osabuohein and Jalen Bridges. The Mountaineers should also have a healthy Isaiah Cottrell for the frontcourt.
Huggins improve the team with transfers like forward Dimon Carrigan (Florida International), guard Malik Curry (Old Dominion) and forward Pauly Paulicap (DePaul).
The Mountaineers open the regular season at home on Nov. 9 against Oakland.
Heartland College Sports Big 12 Basketball Preview
Top 25 Returning Players: No. 25 Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua| No. 24 Christian Braun | No. 23 Rondel Walker | No. 22 Umoja Gibson | No. 21 Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe | No. 20 Nijel Pack | No. 19: Marcus Santos-Silva | No. 18 Mike McGuirl| No. 17 Jalen Bridges | No. 16 Kalib Boone | No. 15 Kevin McCullar | No. 14 Isaac Likekele | No. 13 Adam Flagler | No. 12 Jalen Coleman-Lands | No. 11 Sean McNeil | No. 10 Taz Sherman
You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.
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