Morgantown, West Virginia – Bob Huggins often tells the story of how he met Jevon Carter.
Huggins was scouting talent at an AAU tournament when he happened to stumble upon Carter, an unheralded three star recruit out of Illinois, at 8:00 in the morning.
“He was on the furthest court away you could be on and this guy was pressing at 8 AM. No one else on his team was pressing,” Huggins said. “It was just him, pressuring people from end line to end line.”
Huggins went on to say, “I called my assistants and said we have to sign this guy. They’re like ‘What does he do well?’ I said, ‘Hell, I don’t know what he does well, but he sure tries to guard.’”
Jevon Carter went on to become a first team All Big 12 member, an All-American, a two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year and one of the greatest players in the history of West Virginia basketball.
Flash forward to 2022 and West Virginia’s basketball program is a mess. The Mountaineers lost almost all of their most talented players, including seniors Taz Sherman, Gabe Osabuohien, Malik Curry, Pauly Paulicap, Dimon Carrigan, as well transfers Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell.
Huggins is left with a mixture of role players and freshman, and this offseason will perhaps be his most important one ever. While Huggins and his staff have been active pursuing some of the most highly-touted players to enter the transfer portal so far, it’s unlikely that the Mountaineers will be able to completely rebuild their roster through the portal.
What Bob Huggins need is a Jevon Carter-like miracle. The Mountaineers were coming off a 13-19 season in 2012-2013 and a 17-16 record in 2013-2014 before Carter came to Morgantown.
While Carter was at West Virginia, the Mountaineers finished 25-10, 26-9, 28-9 and 26-11, and his passion and intensity for the game, as well as his buy-in to Bob Huggins’ system, completely changed the culture of the program.
Bob Huggins needs another Jevon Carter, but does another Jevon Carter exist in today’s game?