The week after Kevin Jones announced that he was going to return to WVU, another player may be thinking about leaving. The rumors that Dalton Pepper could be transferring to Temple resurfaced Sunday evening on message boards and Twitter. Pepper played his high school ball at Pennsbury, just up the road from Philadelphia, where he earned Pennsylvania Big School Player of the Year honors.
Pepper is expected to be a key contributor this upcoming season for the Mountaineers. Huggins and Co. will welcome in seven freshmen (8 if you include Kevin Noreen), and Pepper would provide the Mountaineers with experience. He would have started had Jones remained in the NBA Draft. With Jones return, his situation becomes murkier.
There were reports on Sunday night that Pepper had informed Huggins and Billy Hahn of his intention to transfer. Repeated calls and emails to Pepper or Pennsbury coach, Frank Sciolla, went unreturned. When rumors of him transferring arose during last season, he twice told the press that he would remain at WVU.
If Pepper leaves, it would be a big blow to a Mountaineer team that saw six players either transfer or graduate from last season's NCAA Tournament team. Some of the recruiting websites say that Huggins has produced one of the Top 10 recruiting classes in the nation. Jabarie Hinds headlines the class, and could potentially start in the backcourt with Darryl Bryant. Then you have Jones and Deniz Kilicli as two of the other starters. That leaves one starting position open, and Pepper seems to have that locked up with some excellent post season workouts according to Philahoops.com. However, Kevin Noreen could figure in prominently after being granted an extra year of eligibility after being injured for most of last season.