Most Of WVU’s Men’s Basketball Squad Slated To Return Next Season

West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) is fouled on a shot attempt
West Virginia forward Oscar Tshiebwe (34) is fouled on a shot attempt

Most Of WVU’s Men’s Basketball Squad Slated To Return Next Season


It appears that the bulk of those Mountaineer men’s basketball players eligible to return for the 2020-21 season are planning to do so.

Third-year sophomore guard Brandon Knapper did enter the NCAA’s Transfer Portal a couple weeks ago, but multiple sources are indicating that all West Virginia’s other underclassmen are slated to return next season. Tony Caridi of West Virginia MetroNews was the first to report this news.

West Virginia forward Derek Culver gets his head on the rim during a shooting drill
West Virginia forward Derek Culver

WVU’s top two scorers from this past year – freshman Oscar Tshiebwe and sophomore Derek Culver – were two Mountaineers some outsiders speculated may test the pro ranks this offseason, but no one from inside program ever indicated that either was leaving.

Now all indications are that all the underclassmen, other than Knapper, are going to return, including Tshiebwe and Culver.

The 6-foot-9, 258-pound Tshiebwe led WVU in both scoring (11.2 points per game) and rebounding (9.3 per game) this past season. Those averages rate him fourth in school history among all freshmen scorers behind only Warren Baker (16.6 in 1973-74), Chris Brooks (12.6 in 1987-88) and Mike Boyd (12.4 in 1990-91). And in terms of rebounding, only Baker (11.2) has ever averaged more among West Virginia’s all-time freshmen. A native of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a graduate of Kennedy Catholic (Pa.) High School, Tshiebwe was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week four times this past season and in the postseason he was also a member of the league’s all-freshman and second-team all-conference squads. The National Association of Basketball Coaches recently named him to its five-member first-team District 8 unit.

Culver was West Virginia’s second-leading scorer (10.4 per game) and rebounder (8.6 per game) this past season. As a freshman in 2018-19, the 6-foot-10, 255-pound native of Youngstown, Ohio, finished as the team’s leading scorer (11.5 per game) and rebounder (9.9 per game). He was an honorable mention all-Big 12 selection this past year.

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Despite their college success, neither Tshiebwe or Culver are currently listed in the majority of the mock NBA drafts as likely selections during the Association’s two-round 2020 draft, which will take place on June 25 in Brooklyn. With most travel and workouts with pro teams curtailed because of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the opportunity for players to improve their draft stock at this point is limited. ESPN rates Tshiebwe as the 78th best overall player and 13th best center available, while Culver is not on that 105-player list.

The 30-team NBA features a two-round draft with a total of 60 players selected. From the Big 12 Iowa State sophomore guard Tyrese Haliburton is rated as a likely top 10 pick, while Texas Tech freshman guard Jahmi’us Ramsey is also projected as a first-round choice. The Kansas trio of Udoka Azubuike, Devon Dotson and Ochai Agbaji, as well as Baylor’s Jared Butler, all are viewed as potential second-round picks. Dotson, Agaji and Butler each are sophomores, while Azubuike is a senior. So far Haliburton is the only of the league’s underclassmen to declared for the NBA draft.

West Virginia finished the virus-shortened 2019-20 season with a 21-10 record. From that squad it is slated will lose three seniors – Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler and Logan Routt – to graduation, and Knapper seems likely to transfer. But with the return of Tshiebwe, Culver and the six other scholarship underclassmen, the Mountaineers will bring back six of their top seven scorers and rebounders – all but Haley, 8.9 points and 4.3 rebounds per game – for the 2020-21 campaign.

WVU still will have just two seniors on next year’s roster, as only Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien will be in their final year of eligibility. Four others will be juniors (Culver, Emmitt Matthews, Jordan McCabe and Sean McNeil), two will be sophomores (Tshiebwe and Deuce McBride) and one will be a redshirt freshman (Jalen Bridges). In addition walk-on Spencer Macke will be a sophomore.

West Virginia has also signed three players to National Letters of Intent who will join the Mountaineers next year – 6-foot-10 Isaiah Cottrell and 6-foot-7 Taj Thweat, who are each coming from the prep ranks, and 6-foot-3 junior college guard Kedrian Johnson. Knapper’s departure leaves WVU head coach Bob Huggins with another scholarship available for this class if he wants to use it.



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  • #114897

    Most Of WVU’s Men’s Basketball Squad Slated To Return Next Season It appears that the bulk of those Mountaineer men’s basketball players eligible to r
    [See the full post at: Most Of WVU’s Men’s Basketball Squad Slated To Return Next Season]

    #114911

    What will the players be doing this summer in way of their basketball development and team activities?  Are they allowed to congregate in relation to the virus  situation?

    #114912
    
    
    IF he wants to use it?????   IF????  I don’t think there’s an IF in his mind.  We have TWO glaring needs IMO.
    #1 PG.  Do we have a PG that would start on the top 3 or 4 teams in the B12?  Miles has some potential but as a FR he would be on the bench at PG on any other B12 team last year.  Will he develop that fast?  Will Kedrian be that PG?  We know the limitations of Jordan.  Three things that we were missing last year started with the PG play.  Spacing, movement without the ball, passing.  In order to win the B12 and make a deep run (FF minimum) we need to have a top PG.  GR SR would be good here.  I don’t see a JC that is available.  Another transfer only if immediately available.
    #2 Big to replace Culver/Oscar.  It’s not a must for this coming year as both will most likely be back.  Both need that extra year under Huggs/Eric to hone their skills.  But Oscar most likely will be gone after next and Derek may be.  If we lose both we could be in deep trouble in the paint.  Sure Cottrell can handle some of those duties but IMO he’s not your go to guy in the paint.  His game looks more suited for the outside.  So do we bring in a player like Seny to develop for a year like we did Bridges?  Bringing in a Grad SR does us no good.  JC with only 2 is minimally good if you’re looking for the long run.
    Let me throw out another need.  Stretch 4.  Someone with the size of Cottrell that can hit it outside like a 2G.  35% minimum.  Anybody know if Pittsnogle has a year of eligibility left? Tyrone Sally?

    IMO there will be another slot open before the end of the year.  It’s still quite early in the Portal process for many of these guys.  Communications between players / coaches / other teams have all but shut down because of COVID-19

    #114913

    Is there a statue of limitations on grad transfers  or those who left school with eligibility left?

    #114934

    What will the players be doing this summer in way of their basketball development and team activities?  Are they allowed to congregate in relation to the virus  situation?

     
    All university facilities are closed, as are most public workout facilities. Players cannot gather under any university supervision or direction.

    #114935

    Is there a statue of limitations on grad transfers or those who left school with eligibility left?

    Division I athletes have five years in which to complete their four years of play. That five-year clock starts when they enroll in college.

    There are a few waiver exceptions where a sixth year is granted due to extraordinary circumstances, such as injury or a situation that forced someone to leave school, but those are rare.

    #114985

    Watched a game from 2016 last night. Amazing to watch the ball mave quickly and freely and movement without the ball was relatively good and spacing not an issue.

    This team basically played with 3 guards (Carter, Miles, Philip) nad had Williams in the middle with Adrian & Holton at the 4.

    As crazy as Dax made us at times he could be an amazing player on both ends of the floor when his mind was right. He did an incredible job against Buddy Hield in the game I watched (2016 Big XII semi-final).

    Bottom line is we need this group to understand the game and system as well as that group. We may not have a JC or Dax (even the sophomore versions I was watching) but we certainly have far greater front line talent.

    The other thing that stood out? 4 guards that could get to the hole or st least deep in the paint seemingly at will. That creates all kinds of stress on a defense. Can’t imagine this team if we have that group of guards (JC, Dax, Phillip, Paige).

    #114996

    Mex, that team had what this past team was completely missing.  Spacing.  Movement without the Ball, Passing with complete ball movement.

    We played the old BE/Georgetown pound it in the paint game last year.

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