Derek Culver’s WVU Career Comes To Confusing, Disjointed End

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins gets a hug from WVU forward Derek Culver

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The mercurial college basketball career of Derek Culver ended the way it started … in turmoil.

When he left high school, he was West Virginia bound, but opted instead to spend a year in prep school.

If it was to give him time to mature, to get out in the world, it did not work, for his college career began with Mountaineer head coach Bob Huggins suspending him for the first semester.

Nothing major. Little stuff, it was, like getting to practice on time, making study hall, “yes, sir” and “no, sir” kind of things.

See he was big, an athlete and privileged. He was also intelligent, smarter than the kids he grew up with in a tough neighborhood in Youngstown, which Huggins recognized and had to address.

“He had always been able to work his way out of things. When I suspended him the first semester of his freshman year he was like ‘Holy cow, this guy is for real,’” Huggins said on Tuesday.

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That came 15 or so hours after Culver’s WVU career reached its messy end.

Huggins swears that as of 9:30 p.m. the previous night Culver had told him he was coming back to WVU next year.

However, by then, president Cervando Tejeda of Athletes Sports Management, a sports agency that is not certified by the NCAA, had announced that it has signed its first three basketball clients and Culver was among them. Not being certified meant that Culver did not, like teammates Deuce McBride, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman, who have requested evaluations from the NBA underclassmen advisory group, have an option to return to school.

At that point it seemed pretty cut and dried. Culver had signed with an agent and was leaving, despite Huggins denials.

And Culver’s.

See Culver, who is in California working on his game before the NBA draft, went onto his Instagram story and called the report that broke in 247Sports “false news” and said he hadn’t signed with an agent.

And then, as it began to trend on social media, Culver’s original Instagram story disappeared, much as he is going to do from the Mountaineer program, soon to be replaced by a long explanation of what was going on.

“I released a statement earlier today that I would now like to clarify,” he wrote. “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.”

And then he offered up the reason he offered up a statement that was not true.

“I refuted those claims as I felt it unfair for those who have supported me over the years to hear it from me directly,” he wrote.

West Virginia forward Derek Culver (1) stretches for a rebound
West Virginia forward Derek Culver (1) stretches for a rebound

In other words, the agent had not cleared releasing the information with Culver.

What’s more, it seems Culver wasn’t even sure that what he had signed with them was a contract, but the agent offered to release it publicly and to hold Culver to it.

And so it goes in the Neverland, where everyone dreams of playing in the NBA but where most of those dreams evaporate into a career in some far-off land.

That well may be the fate that is awaiting Culver, who his agent, Tejeda, calls one of the best stretch four players in college basketball, telling 247Sports that he thinks Culver will be a stretch 4 in the NBA

“He’s making unbelievable progress with his jump shot and his ability to shoot the ball and to pick and pop. The progress he’s making in Los Angeles on his jump shot, the NBA teams will be able to see that”

The entire state of West Virginia is waiting for that to happen, but remember an agent’s job is to make his prospect look good and to drive up the asking price, so this becomes a buyer beware situation.

Huggins doesn’t believe Culver should have left. He exits with 1,039 points and 799 rebounds.

“Here’s what I don’t get,” Huggins said. “I told Devin Williams [when he left early] that he had a chance to be the fifth guy in WVU history to score 1,000 points and get 1,000 rebounds. Just him and Jerry West, Lloyd Sharrar, Kevin Williams and Warren Baker. That meant nothing to him.

“I told Derek, ‘Don’t do what Devin did. Leave your name here, leave your mark here. It will help you so much down the road.’”

It didn’t mean anything to Derek Culver, either.

Home Page forums Derek Culver’s WVU Career Comes To Confusing, Disjointed End

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  • #145556

    MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The mercurial college basketball career of Derek Culver ended the way it started … in turmoil. When he left high school, he was
    [See the full post at: Derek Culver’s WVU Career Comes To Confusing, Disjointed End]

    #145563

    Athletics Sports Management signed its first 3 clients. What does this tell you of this agency?

    #145582

    “He’s making unbelievable progress with his jump shot and his ability to shoot the ball and to pick and pop. The progress he’s making in Los Angeles on his jump shot, the NBA teams will be able to see that”

    The first thought that probably comes to many and is so obvious are a few questions:
    Is this actually true?
    Who is doing the training?
    Why wasn’t that done here?
    Each of us probably has their opinions of the answers to the second two questions!
    But if it had been done here, the imagination runs wild as to the opportunities it would afford in the offense! Not to mention the relief from the beatings!
    And what an upward evaluation given the NBA people with the results it might have provided?

    #145583

    Glad he’s gone.Wish him the best.

    #145596

    Can’t begrudge an athlete wanting to make money for himself by pursuing a pro career.  Just hope these agents are genuine and he is not being misled. This exit is more palatable than the transfer portal shenanigans.

    #145600

    Implication of article is that he may not of realized what he signed, or that he didn’t want to tell Gabe and Huggins

    #145644
    JAL

    Culver’s career had been an odd one from the suspension to the leaving.  As player he was inconsistent  One game or one one half he would look like a 1st team All-American and the next he would disappear.  Same with foul shooting–8 of 9 then 1 of 9.

    Late in the season he was barely playing late in games as Gabe was given more time for his defense.

     

    I doubt he will get drafted.  Look him to be playing in Europe next season.

    #145714

    Derek has tremendous talent. He struggles at times with effort and attitude. That said both grew tremendously while at WV.

    In the one on one pro game I could actually see DC being a guy that could score on virtually anyone. He’s so unorthodox and with the extra step/pivot allowed at the next level his moves would be hard to defend one on one.

    I was happy to see his progression and a player and young man under Huggs. Got the sense Huggs loved this guy a bit more than most.

    #145716

    When kids leave early, especially with multiple years of eligibility, I always wonder …. What If?

    What would the result be for Derek if he would stay and develop further under Huggs? We know he’s not NBA ready at this point.  He hasn’t been listed in any of the mock drafts.  Would he benefit more from playing under Huggs tutelage for at least 1 and maybe 2 more years?  Would it make a difference if he still didn’t get the NBA call in what he could make as starting salary overseas?

    Then I always go back to my old stand by that getting a degree and then a masters will in the long run set him up for success much more than coming out early and making a minimum overseas for a couple years.  Look at the long term rather than the gold ring now.

    #146239

    These kids get dollar signs in their brain and then are encouraged by those who will sponge from them to leave early… there needs to be better counseling of these athletes to bring them a dose of reality. It’s like picking a rose before it’s ready to bloom… a fellow by the name of Major comes to mind….

    #146257

    BSAE, agree with the sentiments, but not sure if any additional counseling makes things any better. WVU (and many schools) have counselors of the academic and life variety as part of their programs. They bring in former athletes to recount all of the struggles and dangers of leaving early.

    I think we grow frustrated because we see the same process happen again and again, but it’s all new to the players going through it, and they don’t have the long experience that we do. Add in that lure of easy money from the hangers-on, and I’m not sure if there is much else that can be done to override it.

    #146262

    Amen Kevin.  Every player thinks he’s the exception that’s going to make it.  Derek’s future never included the NBA, so if he just wants to go make some money overseas, so be it.  But if someone is pumping him up as an NBA prospect, I just don’t see that happening.

    #146270

    The sad part of this is that Derek is walking away from a free degree.  Possibly a free Masters.  I get it that these kids have visions of sugar plum dollars in their heads, but this is getting out of control.

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Home Page forums Derek Culver’s WVU Career Comes To Confusing, Disjointed End

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