Iowa Transfer Brings New York Toughness To WVU

Joe Toussaint

In rebuilding a team that slipped to 16-17 last season, West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has returned to a familiar path to restore some grit and toughness to his program.

WVU  recently added 6-foot point guard Joe Toussaint to the roster. Though he spent the past three years at the University of Iowa, Toussaint is a native of the Bronx in New York City. And like many NYC products, Toussaint has a hard-nosed mentality developed on the asphalt courts of The City.

“A New York guard has a different type of swagger. We are tough, both offensively and defensively. We have a high IQ. We’re not going to back down, not shy away from the big moment,” explained the Cardinal Hayes High School alum. “If you come from New York, you’re a tough person.”

Some of the greatest Mountaineers of all-time have come from the New York City area, as five of the school’s top 15 career scorers grew up within sight of the Empire State Building – Da’Sean Butler with 2,095 points, Kevin Jones with 1,822 points, Lowes Moore with 1,696 points, Chris Brooks with 1,661 points and Truck Bryant with 1,590 points.

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Though he is Cardinal Hayes’ all-time leading scorer with 1,712 career points, Toussaint had to adjust to a different role once he came to college.

“At Iowa, I played with a bunch of guys who could score, like Keegan Murray (whose average of 23.5 points per game was the fourth-best mark in Division I this past season), so my role wasn’t really to score (4.3 points per game in 2021-22). My role was to facilitate (a team-high 3.2 assists per game) and play defense (a team-high 1.4 steals per game), but I can score when I need to. I can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways.”

In 98 career games at Iowa, starting 41 of them, Toussaint averaged 4.8 points, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game. He converted 40% of his field goal attempts (170 of 421), 27.7% of his 3-point tries (23 of 83) and 76.6% of his free throws (108 of 141).

So far in his college career, he’s been known for his ability to pass and defend, but Toussaint wants to add to his resume at WVU, where he has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

“I’m looking to expand my game,” the son of Satuyee Toussaint noted. “I know have it in me, and I know what I can do. I’m always in the gym. I’m ready to show West Virginia what I’ve got.”

Toussaint was part of a program at Iowa that had plenty of success in his three years there. The Hawkeyes were 26-10 this past season, 22-9 in 2020-21 and 20-11 in 2019-20, finishing each of those seasons ranked in the top 25. Under coach Fran McCaffery, Iowa stresses offense; it scored 83.2 points per game in ’21-‘22, which was the fifth-highest average in Division I.

“They play fast, and Fran is a good coach,” said Toussaint. “The (Iowa City) area was good, my parents liked it, so I thought it was the best place for me coming out of high school.”

Joe Toussaint (University of Iowa photo)

Toussaint saw plenty of playing time once he arrived at Iowa (1,529 career minutes played), but his path to becoming the Hawkeyes’ full-time starting point guard featured some twists and turns.

“Jordan (Bohannon) was a junior here when I was a senior in high school,” Toussaint noted of Iowa’s veteran point guard who completed his college career as the NCAA’s all-time leader in games played with 179. “I was looking at it that I could learn a lot from him when I was a freshman and he was a senior. Then I could run the show from that point on. Unfortunately, he got hurt (in 2019-20, taking a medical redshirt), then came the Covid year, so I’ve been playing behind him for three years (as Bohannon was a sixth-year senior this past season).”

Even though Bohannon finally ran out of college eligibility at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, Toussaint decided he wanted to make a fresh start. He entered the transfer portal in late March, and quickly connected with a college that had drawn his attention when he was a prep star in the Bronx.

“Out of high school, I thought I was a Bob Huggins-type kid, and I wanted that offer,” he remembered in a recent interview on the “MetroNews Statewide Sportsline.” “I played defense, and I could score the ball in a variety of ways. I could see myself in his system. I used to watch Jevon Carter a lot, and I watched Deuce McBride play there when I was here. I’m also really good friends with Truck Bryant, who was on their Final Four team.

“(The Mountaineers) showed interest in me while I was in high school, but they already had a bunch of guards. Jordan McCabe was there, and Deuce was committed, so they told me they didn’t want to offer me when they already had a number of guards; it wouldn’t be fair to me. I was like, ‘OK, that’s fine,’ and I went to Iowa.”

But given a second chance, the Toussaint-West Virginia connection clicked.

“This time when they reached out to me, they were definitely No. 1 on my list,” he said. “I went down for a visit and had a long and really good conversation with Coach Huggs. That sealed it for me.”

Toussaint signed with WVU on April 14. He will be in Morgantown soon, as the Mountaineer players will gather on campus in early June for the start of summer workouts.

There are plenty of new pieces on this year’s roster, as only five players return from last season. Still, despite a reconfigured lineup, Huggins hopes a New York-tough guard like Toussaint can provide the Mountaineers with some ingredients they were sorely lacking this past year.

“I feel like I’m a good team player,” explained Toussaint. “I don’t pout and don’t bad mouth anyone. I put the team first, and that’s what I plan to do at West Virginia.”

Home Page forums Iowa Transfer Brings New York Toughness To WVU

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    In rebuilding a team that slipped to 16-17 last season, West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins has returned to a familiar path to restore so
    [See the full post at: Iowa Transfer Brings New York Toughness To WVU]


    I like a tough guard that’s built like he could play strong safety for the football team.He and Seth Wilson are twins.Although looking at the roster stats Toussaint appears to be stockier.


    Agreed, catfish. I think that helps them on defense, and through the rigors of the season. Of course, want them to be able to shoot, too, and that is the biggest overall concern for the hoops roster, for me, as it now stands. Will WVU be able to make enough shots from the perimeter?


    good read…looks like a great addition to the program…no talking about wanting to be a pro…just playing in the here and now, for WVU….welcome sir…with him and Seth Wilson playing together or spelling each other, WVU is looking good….


    Looks like a very solid addition with blue collar willingness. Didnt figure Hugs would take a losing season laying down. Looks like a very good rebuild.


    Looks like Oscar T.

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Home Page forums Iowa Transfer Brings New York Toughness To WVU

Home Page forums Iowa Transfer Brings New York Toughness To WVU