WVU Basketball Outlook: Shooting Guard

West Virginia guard Taz Sherman (!2) turns the corner on a baseline drive against Youngstown State's Darius Quisenberry (3)
West Virginia guard Taz Sherman (!2) turns the corner on a baseline drive against Youngstown State's Darius Quisenberry (3)

The only position where the Mountaineers’ 2020-21 men’s basketball team must find a new starter is at shooting guard, where last year’s first-teamer, Jermaine Haley, has graduated. Also departing after graduation is heavily used reserve Chase Harler.

A native of Vancouver, Canada, the 6-foot-7 Haley found a home at WVU the past two years after bouncing around from New Mexico State to Odessa (Texas) College in his early college days. He wound up starting 54 games combinde at West Virginia as a junior and senior, including all 30 he played in last season. A jack-of-all-trades capable of playing any position from point guard to power forward, Haley spent most of his time in 2019-20 at the shooting guard spot, though he wasn’t necessarily a great shooter. He made just 5-of-19 three-point attempts (26.3 percent) the entire season, as most of his points (8.9 per game) came on drives and post moves. While he was fourth on the team in scoring average, he did lead the club in shooting percentage (55.4 percent), assists (58) and steals (36), while also pulling down the third-most rebounds (4.3).

Add in the veteran experience of Harler, who averaged 4.4 points per game last year, and West Virginia has its biggest shoes to fill at the shooting guard spot.

Get all of our print editions with your subscription today!

Fortunately for the Mountaineers, there are a number of candidates who should be capable replacements.

Two of those arrived at WVU last year from the junior college ranks in terms of Taz Sherman (6-4, 185 lbs., Sr.) and Sean McNeil (6-3, 207 lbs., Jr.). A third option is Kedrian Johnson (6-3, 180 lbs., Jr.), another juco product who is enrolling at West Virginia this summer.

A native of the Houston, Texas, suburb of Missouri City, Sherman was a second-team NJCAA All-American in his final season at Collin (TX) College, averaging 25.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. It took him a while to adjust to the major college level, though, as he averaged just 3.5 points through his first 17 games with the Mountaineers last year. He began adapting in the second half of the season, though, doubling his scoring average to 7.1 points per game in the final 14 contests. That included a 20-point performance at Baylor when he hit 5-of-9 three-pointers. Sherman averaged 5.3 points per game for the season as a whole, hitting 33.3 percent of his three-point shots (28 of 34) and 86.4 percent of his foul shots (19 of 22). He also had 24 assists and 18 steals while suffering 29 turnovers.

Likewise, it also took McNeil a while to acclimate himself at the D-I level. A native of Union, Kentucky, he was initially headed to Division II power Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky after graduating from Cooper High School. He had a change of heart, though, and instead decided not to attend Bellarmine. Eventually he enrolled at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, and soon proved himself to be one of the elite juco scorers in the country. He averaged a nation’s-best 29.7 points per game in his one season at Sinclair and eventually found himself with over a dozen power conference scholarship offers.

McNeil picked WVU and received immediate playing time, but the scoring didn’t come quite as quickly. Illness and injury slowed him at times, though he did have a few strong early-season performances. He was 3-of-5 from three and scored 11 points against Pitt in the second game of the year. McNeil then knocked down 4-of-7 treys en route to 13 points against St. John’s a few weeks later and followed that with a 4-of-6 effort from behind the arc in scoring 10 points against Nicholls State. Consistency was lacking for McNeil in the first two-thirds of the season, though, as he averaged 3.9 points through the first 21 games. He started to find his touch late in the year, though, averaging 7.1 points in the final seven games. On the season, McNeil averaged 5.5 points per game, while make a team-best 29 three-pointers, converting 33.0 percent from that range.

West Virginia guard Sean McNeil drains a 3-pointer over the Nicholls State defense
West Virginia guard Sean McNeil drains a 3-pointer over the Nicholls State defense

With a year of major college experience under their belts, Sherman and McNeil would be the most obvious candidates to replace Haley as WVU’s starting shooting guard this coming season. Both will certainly see plenty of playing time, no matter who is on the floor for the opening tap, as long as they can improve upon their consistency.

The newcomer at that position, Johnson, can’t be dismissed either, though history shows making a quick, seamless leap from juco to major college is difficult.

Johnson averaged 25.5 points per game this past season at Temple (TX) College to go along with 5.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists and 3.4 steals. A native of Dallas, Texas, Johnson spent his first college year at St. Peters University but then left the New Jersey school and spent two seasons at TC. Now he’s at WVU.

While primarily shooting guards, both Sherman and Johnson also have the skills to slide over and help at the point guard position if need arises.

Though none of the three prime replacements for Haley has his size or all-around skills, each would appear to have a better offensive game, thus potentially allowing the Mountaineers get more scoring punch out of their shooting guard position.




 

Home Page forums WVU Basketball Outlook: Shooting Guard

  • This topic has 10 replies, 4 voices, and was last updated by Butlereer.
Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #119142

    The only position where the Mountaineers’ 2020-21 men’s basketball team must find a new starter is at shooting guard, where last year’s first-teamer,
    [See the full post at: WVU Basketball Outlook: Shooting Guard]

    #119148

    To say Haley was a SG is a misnomer.  Yes, on the scorecard he was placed at the SG …..  but only because we had the 3/4/5 taken up by Emmitt, Oscar, Derek and 1 by Miles/Jordan.  And yes, he did guard the opposing 2 G out of necessity.  But you would expect that your 2G could 1. shoot it from 3 (which he really didn’t have a touch or take that many shots) 2. take his man straight to the basket on a straight line (far from it).

    IMO if you had to peg him into one position it would be a 4????  Maybe…..  Kind of ….. Not really  Doesn’t have the size to be a true 4 but he has quickness to get around that. …..  3???? again, you would want your SF to be able to spread the floor and hit it from deep with some consistency.  That just wasn’t his game.  PG???? Ummmm, been there, tried that.  Not fast enough to take his man to the hoop although he had the size.  Handle was better than avg for 6’7″ but not nearly PG skill.  Passing ability was OK as he could see the floor because of his size.  And he’s a better distributor than Miles.  But again, couldn’t shoot it from deep with enough frequency to make a difference.

    But…. that being said ….. he’s one of my favorites and is good enough to support any position.

    #119149

    Kevin, I disagree that 2G is the only position without a starter.  PG is still up in the air.  Started the season with Jordan.  Went to Miles for much of the year.  Jermaine took over out of necessity at the end when we needed a better distributor and Miles played off the ball.

    If Huggs were completely satisfied with the PG position IMO he wouldn’t have gone hard after a transfer at the end of the season.  Went hard after 4 or 5 and lost out on all.  That in itself tells us something.

    So, who is the starter?  Miles? Jordan? Kedrian?  This will be interesting to see who comes out on top at the beginning of the season.  Starter isn’t necessarily the one that gets the most pt in the game.  Let’s see how this pans out.

    #119153

    Jordan McCabe started 29 of WVU’s 31 games last year, so you definitely have to refer to him as a returning starter. Deuce McBride started 2 of those 31 games, but was the key sixth man coming off the bench. He played more minutes than McCabe (22.2 per game compared to 13.5). Huggs has often done that over the years, bringing some of his better players off the bench (Tarik Phillip and Jaysean Paige two prime examples). Oscar Tshiebwe (31 starts), Derek Culver (25 starts) and Emmitt Matthews (30 starts) all return at the center, power forward and small forward positions respectively. Haley started 30 games, and while he could play anywhere, his start were at the shooting guard spot, meaning he is the only full-time starter graduating from last year’s club.

    #119159

    Seems like the discussion of the basketball team needs is always on the offensive side of the coin! Which behooves the question: Is this the main effort in recruiting? Don’t know anything about the guys coming in this year, but it seems the recent recruits are heavily tilted to the offensive ability side. Is this by design to fit a certain style of play or philosophy where offense is our key to winning with defense a lesser priority? Huggins oft times during the year would complain about not being able to get these guys to play any type of defense, having tried everything! There were times, though, that the team played some great defense. But not mainly to be counted on. Is this possibly, the effect Pro ball is having on college ball?

    #119160

    I don’t think Huggins is ever going to put offensive skills in front of defense. When he’s done that in the past, as with Eron Harris and Teddy Allen, it didn’t work. Huggs’ philosophy is defense first, and I doubt that will ever change. Sean McNeil and Jordan McCabe are interesting case studies now, because both are much better offensively than defensively. Can either or both progress on the defensive end so they aren’t liabilities?

    #119162

    Jordan McCabe started 29 of WVU’s 31 games last year, so you definitely have to refer to him as a returning starter. Deuce McBride started 2 of those 31 games, but was the key sixth man coming off the bench. He played more minutes than McCabe (22.2 per game compared to 13.5). Huggs has often done that over the years, bringing some of his better players off the bench (Tarik Phillip and Jaysean Paige two prime examples). Oscar Tshiebwe (31 starts), Derek Culver (25 starts) and Emmitt Matthews (30 starts) all return at the center, power forward and small forward positions respectively. Haley started 30 games, and while he could play anywhere, his start were at the shooting guard spot, meaning he is the only full-time starter graduating from last year’s club.

    Greg, Paige and Phillip coming off the bench is way different than Miles coming off for Jordan.  Neither Tarik or Jaysean were going to start over JC or Dax.  15-’16’season both were close to Dax in mins only because we used 3G’s much of the time. Dax still had more mins and started almost every game. 16′-17′ Tarik logged a little more mins but started only 15 vs 26 for Dax and Dax had a couple games where he was minimal with a sprain.

    Now, if you want to talk about Jamie starting, that’s a different story.  His SR year there were 7 guys logging more minutes and Jamie was usually at the end of the bench at the end of the game.

    #119164

    Looking at last year’s roster (This year’s not up yet), other than McBride, it would be hard to find anyone on the team you could point to that had a lot of natural defensive skills. Not sure if this is a serious discussion!🙄

    #119166

    Kedrian is said to have some pretty good D.

    #119168

    McBride Sherman and McNeil all showed flashes of good defense 🤷🏻‍♂️

    #119172

    And all 3 will get better in year 2.

Viewing 11 posts - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.

Home Page forums WVU Basketball Outlook: Shooting Guard

Home Page forums WVU Basketball Outlook: Shooting Guard