Earlier this month, the 2016 basketball recruiting class of Chase Harler, Sagaba Konate, and Maciej Bender enrolled at WVU. The class has some nice potential, especially Bender, and at least one of the three will likely play a role on the team next season.
With the 2016 class on campus, let's take a look at a few names (among many) that Bob Huggins and the Mountaineer basketball staff will be looking at for the 2017 class.
West Virginia will have four scholarships in 2017 to replace seniors Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins, Teyvon Myers, and Tarik Phillip. One of those spots has already been claimed by South Charleston (WV) point guard Brandon Knapper. The in-state talent has been on a major upswing in recent years. The days of fielding national championship caliber teams with mostly local kids have been over for 50 years now, but when there are Big 12 caliber players in the Mountain State, the Mountaineers need to keep them at home.
Knapper is a lightning quick guard who would likely be getting more national attention if he were still on the market. He graduates high school this year but will be spending a prep season at Hargrave Military Academy. According to this article by Mitch Vingle, Bob Huggins calls Knapper "Juwan Staten with a shot."
Knapper isn't the only WV product in the 2017 class. There are two other players, one with a scholarship offer and one with an offer potentially coming, that Huggins has his eye on.
The first is Chase Johnson, a 6'7 forward from Ripley, WV. Johnson picked up an offer earlier this year and the Mountaineers are the heavy favorites for his services. Johnson, like Knapper, could be a prep school candidate and come on board in 2018. Johnson's athleticism is his calling card:
March 26, 2016
The other local talent to look out for is is Poca, WV's Luke Frampton. Frampton has really stood out on the AAU circuit and recently picked up an offer from Duquense. Frampton is a 6'5 guard with great range and solid athleticism. An offer hasn't came yet, but don't be surpised if it happens soon.
Aside from the in-state talent, here are a few other 2017 prospects to keep an eye on:
Derek Culver, 2017 PF - Warren, OH
If you follow WVU recruiting at all, you know that Culver is the prize Huggins is seeking for the 2017 class. He's been following Culver longer than anyone, and reports are that the Mountaineers are the current favorites. It's not a foregone conclusion, though. In addition to West Virginia, Culver holds offers from the likes of Kansas, Arizona, and Indiana.
Scout has Culver as a 4 star prospect and the 40th ranked player in the class of 2017. ESPN also has him as a 4 star, ranking 52nd in the class.
According to a report, Culver was recently on an unofficial visit to Morgantown.
Derek Culver, a top-50 big within the 2017 class, is on an unofficial visit to West Virginia https://t.co/gHmCJlF7bB pic.twitter.com/cFUgjmbDB5— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) June 3, 2016
Kyle Young, 2017 F - Massillon, OH
Young is another four star Ohio forward with interest in the Mountaineers. Like Culver, he also has an impressive list of offers. Michigan, Michigan State, and Wisconsin join WVU and others chasing his services.
A class headlined by Culver and Young would be a major deal.
Sterling Manley, 2017 C - Pickerington, OH
Manley's recruitment has picked up recently with an offer coming from Xavier. 247's crystal ball predictions have him ending up in Morgantown. You can view some of his highlights here.
Bourama Sidibe, 2017 PF - Newark, NJ
Sidibe picked up an offer from WVU earlier this month. He also holds offers from Maryland, Memphis, among others.