Morgantown, West Virginia – While winning a national championship is important to college players, what’s more important to them is life after college. Their future. Their career. The NBA. Making big money playing the sport they love to play.
Currently, West Virginia has two former players in the NBA, Jevon Carter of the Brooklyn Nets and Miles “Deuce” McBride of the New York Knicks. Former Mountaineers guard Jaysean Paige was briefly called up to play for the Detroit Pistons this year, but only played in one game.
Since taking over as the head coach of the Mountaineers, Bob Huggins has had six of his former West Virginia players play in the NBA. Joe Alexander was recruited by John Beilein and only played one season for Huggins, but Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Jaysean Paige, Jevon Carter and Miles McBride were Huggins’ recruits that played minutes in the NBA.
Although the six aforementioned players were outstanding players in college, only Jevon Carter has played considerable games at the next level so far. Carter has played in 194 games with three teams (Memphis, Phoenix, Brooklyn) across four NBA seasons, averaging 4.2 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game during his career.
Devin Ebanks played in 63 games with the Los Angeles Lakers in three seasons, averaging 3.5 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.
Kevin Jones played 32 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers, averaging 2.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.
And Miles “Deuce” McBride, who appears to have the brightest future of any former Huggins’ player at West Virginia, is in his first season with the New York Knicks, playing very limited minutes while bouncing between the NBA and the G League.
Six (really, five) NBA players in 15 years as the head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers is frighteningly, alarmingly low for a legendary head coach like Bob Huggins. In comparison, Kentucky’s head coach, John Calipari, currently has 28 of his former Kentucky Wildcats’ players in the NBA and 125 former players who have played in the NBA during his 13 seasons in Lexington.
So if you’re a player like, say, Oscar Tshiebwe, who has real aspirations of one day playing in the NBA, where would you want to play college basketball?