Yesterday junior Lamont West and sophomore Andrew Gordon announced they were entering the NCAA Transfer Portal, possibly signaling the end of their career as West Virginia Mountaineers. West is graduating this spring and will be immediately eligible as a graduate transfer while Gordon may be forced to sit out in accordance with the NCAA rules.
The transfers come on the heels of the Trey Doomes transfer, the Beetle Bolden transfer and the dismissal of senior Esa Ahmad and junior Wes Harris.
Bob Huggins and his Mountaineers floundered this season, struggling all season to replace the leadership of Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter. The Mountaineers best player, Sagaba Konate, was injured early in the season and only played in 8 games while their best shooter, Beetle Bolden, battled various injuries all season and struggled to be a full-time contributor after being a bench man last season.
Huggins all season vowed to fix the problem, “if not this year, then next year” but with the amount of vacancies facing the program, the fix may not be next year. Right now, there are seven players on scholarship for next year: Logan Routt, Brandon Knapper, Sagaba Konate, Jordan McCabe, Derek Culver, Emmitt Matthews Jr., and Jermaine Haley. That should be a good core to at least start building towards something but three of those players are freshman who still need to develop, Konate was hurt all year and who knows what he will be able to do next year, while Knapper, Routt and Haley haven’t shown they can be the player to put the team on their back.
The eventual departures of Doomes, West and Gordon - who have entered the transfer portal but have not officially signed elsewhere, so in theory they could return but it is unlikely they will - now leaves 6 spots for Huggins and his staff to fill. Two have already been filled, one by McDonald’s All American Oscar Tshiebwe and the other by Miles McBride. Who are going to fill the other four spots? As we have seen in football, scholarships require players to develop a relationship with the coaches and trying to build those relationships at the last minute often leads to rushed choices and decisions on players.
The 2018-19 season was a tough one for fans and I’m sure a tough one for Bob Huggins. His players, the ones he helped recruit and signed off on signing, seemed disinterested and lacked the same passion as their head coach. Huggins has proven himself over his career that he should be given the opportunity to rebuild this roster and he usually has but kept his teams competitive, but that doesn’t alleviate him from the disaster that was this season. It also doesn’t relieve him from the truth that this was his second losing season in the Big 12 and his third season in missing the NCAA tournament. While the 18-19 season was akin to the 12-13 season, don’t expect the 19-20 season to be like the 14-15 season when WVU Basketball returned to the NCAA tournament and reached the Sweet 16. It is possible and maybe likely that the 13-14 season where WVU is maybe a .500 team that misses the tournament again.