After an evening of mixed messages and confusion, West Virginia forward Derek Culver has announced he will not return to WVU for the 2021-22 season, and will pursue a professional career. He made that statement on his verified Instagram account via an Instagram Story late on Monday night.
“I released a statement earlier today that I would now like to clarify. Some on social media have stated that I have left school. In the heat of the moment, I responded on social media to refute those claims. I have taken stock of my college experience and am now undergoing the difficult decision to plan my future. I have elected to forgo my senior year and currently explore my professional options, which was a difficult decision that I did not take lightly. It is a long process for an athlete to turn professional. For those blessed with the opportunity to play as scholarship athletes, it is difficult to leave our adoptive college family. I tried to articulate earlier that I had not officially announced my intentions publicly to leave school and that reports of me doing so were unconfirmed. I refuted those claims as I felt it unfair for those who have supported me over the years to hear it from other sources before hearing it from me directly.
“Now I would like to state on my terms that I am officially declaring for the NBA Draft and have signed with Athletes Sports Management (ASM). I would like to take this time to thank my family, teammates, and coaches for all the years of support. I am looking forward to this next chapter.”
ASM is certified by the NBA, but is not one of the much smaller group of agents which is NCAA-certified, meaning that this move by Culver makes him ineligible to return to college.
ASM announced that Culver had signed on Monday afternoon, but apparently without Culver’s consent. Culver initially denied ASM’s announcement via his Instagram story, but that was quickly deleted, but not before it was shared by several accounts on other social media outlets.
Adding to the confusion was ASM’s initial tagging of the wrong Derek Culver account on Twitter, and the presence of several other accounts on different platforms that appeared to be Culver’s, but are not verified.
The upshot, though, is that Culver’s sometimes tumultuous career at West Virginia is finished. In three seasons with the Mountaineers, he averaged 12 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. He totaled 65 blocks and 62 steals, and raised his free throw percentage from 58.5% as a freshman to 62.4% this past season.
He became the 54th player to score more than 1,000 points as a Mountaineer (1,036) standing 49th in WVU history, and is 10th all-time with 258 offensive rebounds. Other placements in the West Virginia record book include total rebounds (14th – 799), rebounds per game (11th – 9.3) and double-doubles (11th – 27).