West Virginia Players Say This Team is Very Special

Morgantown, West Virginia - Following the 2021-2022 season, a season where the West Virginia Mountaineers finished 16-17 overall and dead last at 4-14 in the Big 12 Conference, Bob Huggins has been on a mission to "fix it." Although Huggins missed out on former Texas guard Courtney Ramey, who chose to finish his career with the Arizona Wildcats, the Mountaineers have managed to put together one of the very best group of transfers in the entire nation. Landing five star transfer guards Erik Stevenson and Joe Toussaint was only the beginning for Huggins' roster transformation. Stevenson and Toussaint give the Mountaineers experience and toughness to go with Kedrian Johnson in the backcourt, but the real focus was improving the interior play. Tre Mitchell, a proven Big 12 talent, is perhaps the most important player on West Virginia's roster. He's shown that he's capable of averaging a double-double and gives the team a true post player who is also able to step out and make perimeter shots consistently. Joining Mitchell in the front court is Emmitt Matthews, Jr., who has grown tremendously in his year away from the team. Matthews averaged 11.7 points and 4.7 rebounds per game at Washington last season and is perhaps one of the most athletic players to play for West Virginia in a long time. In addition to the players already mentioned, newcomers Pat Suemnick, Mohamed Wague and Jimmy Bell have all reportedly been very impressive in early team practices. Although it's very early, the Mountaineers already appear to be more cohesive than last season and have the pieces in place to really surprise people in the Big 12 Conference. According to Erik Stevenson, who will be playing in his 5th season with three teams, he thinks this team can be "very special." In response to Emmitt Matthews saying that "loves this team", Stevenson said, "Been trying to say this! Special group." https://twitter.com/ej_stevenson5/status/1536484464745906177?s=20&t=vuP-CC_CfRVh8Bm1qMDeew

Darian DeVries WVU Contract Details Released

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Darian DeVries was named the next head coach of the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team, and today, details of his contract with the university are starting to leak out. DeVries, who made approximately $650,000 a year at Drake, will now make $2.8 million his first year, then $100,000 extra each year for the next four years. In addition, West Virginia will pay DeVries' buyout at Drake and if West Virginia finishes in top 6 of Big 12 over DeVries' first 2 seasons, he gets an automatic 1-year extension. If West Virginia were to fire DeVries before the end of the deal, the university would owe him 75% of the remaining compensation as a buyout. If DeVries were to leave early, he would owe school 37.5% of the remaining compensation as a buyout.  West Virginia will also pay him $100,000 for relocation purposes. Incentives include $200,000 for a national title, $40,000 for a Big 12 tournament title, and a $20,000 bonus if season ticket sales exceed 6,000. DeVries will officially be announced as the team's head coach at his introductory press conference on Thursday, March 28th at 11:00AM inside the WVU Coliseum. The event is open to the public.

Jalen Bridges, Made in West Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia - Boy was I wrong about Jalen Bridges.  Two years ago - after Bridges posted a photo of himself wearing a Pitt jersey following a recruiting trip there - I said "West Virginia doesn't need Jalen Bridges." Bridges was a four star recruit and had just announced that he would leave Fairmont Senior High School in Fairmont, West Virginia to attend the prep school Scotland Prep in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. I was told Bridges wanted out of West Virginia.  I was informed that he was focused on schools like Indiana, Michigan, Pitt, and Bob Huggins had just landed an outstanding recruiting class featuring Oscar Tshiebwe, Miles "Deuce" McBride, as well as JUCO stars Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil. As a West Virginian, I felt scorned by a hometown player allegedly wanting to attend a school like Pitt, and I lashed out at him.  Obviously this was unfair to say to an 18 year old kid, but my intentions were 1.) Huggins was already building an incredible team, and my message to West Virginia fans was that the team would be okay with or without Jalen Bridges. 2.) Elite in-state high school players leaving West Virginia hurts.   Jalen Bridges has proven me completely wrong.  1,000% wrong.  And I apologize to him. Jalen Bridges is built in West Virginia and he is Mountaineer Proud.   https://twitter.com/jalenbridgess/status/1365813420671524864?s=20 Following Bridges' 8 points, 4 rebounds on 3-3 from the field and 1-1 from three point range performance against Kansas State, Bridges went on social media to say, "(I) love giving my all for this team and this state." While Bridges has already exceeded expectations in his freshman season, this is only the beginning for him as a Mountaineer.  Can you imagine him in 2 years?  3 years?   Bob Huggins had to say the following about Bridges yesterday: "His activity was terrific.  Absolutely terrific.  He got his hands on as many balls as the rest of the team combined.  Blocked some shots.  I think it was three blocked shots they gave him credit for.  He may have had another one or two.  He was really a factor around the rim. He did a great job of keeping balls alive for us.  There's a 6'7 guy out on the perimeter, moving his feet and staying in front of people.  He's got good length. JB is just getting better and better all the time." When the Mountaineers make deep run in the Big 12 Conference Championship Tournament and in the NCAA Tournament, they will rely on Jalen Bridges, "a kid from just up the road in Fairmont", who is giving his all every game for the state of West Virginia.

Bob Huggins Discusses His Future

Morgantown, West Virginia - Following West Virginia's heartbreaking 67-65 loss to Maryland in the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins was asked about his future. "To be honest, the only thing I've thought about for the last month is making it to the (NCAA) Tournament and getting these guys to the point where they could come here.," Huggins said. "I've got people who think I should stay on for quite a while and there's some people probably thinking I should pack it in and let some young guy come screw it up." Huggins, 69, has one year remaining on his current contract, but he has remained mum about his future with the team. Huggins also has the option to continue coaching or lengthen his relationship with WVU through June 30, 2027. Starting with the 2024-25 season, Huggins can choose to assume an appointment of at least two years in Public Relations and Development along with other duties within the athletic department if he is no longer the coach. While Huggins loves the state of West Virginia and West Virginia University more than anyone, one does have to wonder how many more years of tough losses and changes in the game he can endure. With that said, Huggins has said many times that he wants to leave the program on a high note and will not retire after a down year. Was this season a "high note" or is it considered a "horrible year?" https://twitter.com/MrKeithJenkins/status/1636451133404094468?s=20

Big Update on Olivier Nkamhoua

West Virginia basketball's top target, Olivier Nkamhoua, has withdrawn his name from the 2023 NBA Draft and will return for his final year of collegiate eligibility.   MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Moments ago, Olivier Nkamhoua, a talented transfer from Finland, has announced that he is withdrawing his name from the 2023 NBA Draft and will return to college basketball for one more season. Nkamhoua, a 6'9 power forward, entered the transfer portal after four seasons with the Tennessee Volunteers. Nkamhoua averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game for Tennessee this past season. This past weekend, he was in Morgantown on an official visit, where he toured the Mountaineers practice facility and met with Bob Huggins and his coaching staff. Nkamhoua was reportedly "very impressed" with the visit, but unfortunately did not yet commit before leaving town. Instead, he set up a visit with Kansas State and is expected to visit Michigan this weekend. Baylor and Memphis are also reportedly interested and attempting to set up a visit with the talented forward. Nkamhoua's father lives in Cumberland, Maryland, which is approximately an hour from Morgantown, and Nkamhoua was seen hugging Bob Huggins in the parking lot of a local restaurant during his visit last weekend. In addition, West Virginia has found ways to compensate foreign-born players with NIL deals using methods that other schools have not yet been able to do. The Mountaineers landed Kerr Kriisa, who was born in Estonia, and Jesse Edwards, who was born in The Netherlands, reportedly paying both players more than their previous schools (Arizona and Syracuse, respectively) could pay them and perhaps they can work their same magic with the Finland-born Nkamhoua. In other words, West Virginia put on the full-court press to land Nkamhoua, knowing he very well could be the missing piece that could eventually lead the Mountaineers to a Big 12 and national championship. Nkamhoua is not only a talented, experienced offensive player, he would also instantly be the team's best defender should he decide to join. https://twitter.com/DraftExpress/status/1664039284666511360?s=20

This is Bob Huggins’ Most Talented Team Ever

Morgantown, West Virginia - Bob Huggins has unquestionably coached many talented teams during his long and illustrious career.  However, Huggins would likely call some of his former Cincinnati Bearcats teams as the best, toughest teams he's ever coached. The 1991-1992 Cincinnati team - led by future NBA players Nick Van Exel and Corie Blunt - made it to the Final Four before losing a close 76-72 game to Michigan's Fab Five featuring Chris Webber, Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King.  That Bearcats' team went 29-5 and 1st in the Great Midwest Conference with an 8-2 record that season. Huggins' 1999-2000 Cincinnati team was even more dominant.  The Bearcats finished 29-4 overall and 16-0 in Conference USA play.  Cincinnati had future NBA players Kenny Satterfield, DerMarr Johnson and Huggins' favorite player ever, senior Kenyon Martin.   Cincinnati was 28-2 and ranked No. 1 in the country when Martin went down during the opening minutes of the Conference USA quarterfinals. Only four of the Bearcats’ victories had come by fewer than 10 points and only one had come by fewer than seven.   Huggins was later asked if that Cincinnati team would have won the national championship if Martin didn't break his leg before the start of the NCAA Tournament and Huggins believed they would have, saying, "No doubt, whatsoever."   While at West Virginia University, Huggins' most talented team so far has certainly been the 2009-2010 Final Four team led by Devin Ebanks, Kevin Jones, Da'Sean Butler, Truck Bryant, Joe Mazzulla, Casey Mitchell and John Flowers.  This team finished 31-7 overall and 13-5 in a really tough Big East Conference.  The Mountaineers won the Big East Conference Championship at Madison Square Garden and beat a Kentucky team that had John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Patrick Patterson and Eric Bledsoe in the Elite Eight.  If Da'Sean Butler wouldn't have been injured in the Final Four, there's a very good chance that the Mountaineers would have beaten Duke and advanced to the National Championship.   With this said, the 2020-2021 West Virginia Mountaineers have the talent, depth, size and potential to be better than any team that Bob Huggins has coached at Cincinnati and Morgantown.   The most dominant front court in the Big 12 and perhaps the nation - Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver - both return, and while West Virginia will lost Jermaine Haley, Chase Harler and Logan Routt, Huggins brought in talented JUCO guard Kedrian Johnson (the #4 ranked JUCO player in the country), four star forward Isaiah Cottrell, four star Jalen Bridges (who Huggins referred to as “one of his best players in practice) and Taj Thweatt (one of the best high school players in the state of New Jersey).   Oscar Tshiebwe is the best rebounder in the country and has worked hard during the offseason to improve his post game.  Derek Culver is probably the second best rebounder in the Big 12 Conference between Tshiebwe.  Miles "Deuce" McBride is the best returning guard in the conference and the likely leader of the team.  Kedrian Johnson adds a scoring punch from the two guard position that the Mountaineers haven't had in years.  Emmitt Matthews, although he struggled at times last season, is an incredible athlete and can score from the perimeter and attack the basket.  His length and size make him one of the most difficult players in the conference to stop when he's making shots.  Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil are deadly scorers off the bench.  Gabe Osabuohien is a perfect complimentary garbage man to replace Tshiebwe or Culver when they are tired or in foul trouble.  Jordan McCabe is an ideal veteran leader that will provide key minutes behind Miles McBride.  Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell are talented and mature enough to step in an immediately contribute as freshman.  In other words, this team is loaded.   Several “way too early predictions” are out for the upcoming season and West Virginia has been given nominal respect, but there simply isn’t a team that will have the level of size, depth and talent that the Mountaineers will in the Big 12 or perhaps in the country. Bob Huggins has done everything in the game of college basketball except win a national championship and this team gives him a better shot than any in his entire illustrious career.   Lineup:  G Miles McBride G Kedrian Johnson F Emmitt Matthews, Jr. F Oscar Tshiebwe C Derek Culver Bench:  G Taz Sherman G Sean McNeil G Jordan McCabe G Spencer Macke F Isaiah Cottrell F Jalen Bridges F Gabe Osabuohien F Taj Thweatt

Derek Culver: Player of the Year

(Photo courtesy of WVU Athletics) Morgantown, West Virginia - Junior forward Derek Culver has had an outstanding start to the season and his efforts are starting to pay off in the form of big-time individual recognition. Culver, who is currently averaging 13.9 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 45% from the field and 70% from the foul line, is featured on the KenPom Player of the Year list. KenPom rankings are based on advanced analysis of college basketball teams and players, and Derek Culver is currently #5 on the website's Player of the Year list with a 1.314 KPOY Rating. The only players ahead of Culver currently are Iowa's Luka Garza (1.815), Trayce Jackson-Davis of Indiana (1.695), Ayo Dosunmu of Illinois (1.546) and Gonzaga's Drew Timme (1.424). In addition, the Mountaineers are currently ranked #6 in the Ken Pomeroy Rankings this week after a convincing win over #19 ranked Richmond.

Isaiah Cottrell Enters the Transfer Portal

Morgantown, West Virginia - Moments ago, it was revealed that sophomore forward Isaiah Cottrell, a former four star player from Las Vegas, Nevada, has entered the transfer portal and will leave West Virginia. Cottrell, who averaged 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, joins Jalen Bridges in the portal.

Taz Speaks

Morgantown, West Virginia - Senior guard Taz Sherman has a big decision to make now that West Virginia's basketball season is officially over.  He can use his extra year of eligibility to play one more season for the Mountaineers, or he can decide to leave WVU to attempt a professional career overseas. Based on a message posted on his personal Instagram account moments ago, Sherman appears ready to move on: "My most memorable season by far in my basketball career.  Thankful I can go out and give my all with my brothers.  12 out." Sherman's teammate, junior point guard Jordan McCabe, seemed to confirm his departure, saying, "Been a pleasure.  Love you bro." Several other teammates, including Sean McNeil, Gabe Osabuohien and former Mountaineer James "Beetle" Bolden, also added replies to the message which hinted at Sherman's college career coming to an end. Although this is certainly not an official announcement and nothing has been confirmed yet, Sherman appears to be at the very least leaning towards not returning for another season at West Virginia University. Sherman, a 6'4 190 pound guard from Missouri City, Texas, averaged 13.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game for the Mountaineers this past season.  Following West Virginia's loss to Syracuse in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament, he admitted that he received death threats from "West Virginia fans" during the season. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for more information on this developing story!

Esa Ahmad Calls Out Bob Huggins on Instagram

Former West Virginia basketball player Esa Ahmad opened up about coaches in basketball, presumably sharing his experience in college under Head Coach Bob Huggins. Ahmad, who was dismissed from the team at the end of last season along with junior Wesley Harris for “violating athletic department rules”, went off on Huggins via Instagram, saying, "A team is only going to go as far as the coach lead em head of the snake." Ahmad, who now plays professional basketball in Europe, continued by saying, "All these fans be believing everything the coach say but don't have a clue what go on behind the scenes so in reality if a a team is having a bad season all the blame gets puts on the players **** ain't right." Ahmad continued: "But coaches be so quick to say "family."  Nah at the end of the day it's all a business and if it ain't helping them then they are going to throw all types of shade." "Never supposed to turn your back on players or talk down on them especially when **** ain't going right." That negative energy is toxic as hell and can definitely make **** worse that it is but something that you can control is your reaction and how you play it." Ahmad closed by adding, "Players trust these coaches and put their lives in their hands for 4 years of their lives and can make or break them.  But as soon as **** doesn't go as planned, they switch up and talk bad on you but still expect players to run through a wall for them.  No matter how big a coach or a player might be, respect goes a long way and if you got the respect of your players, win, lose or draw they are going to lay everything out on the line for you because they know you are going to do the same." Although there is no specific mention of Bob Huggins or West Virginia University in these messages, it's clearly a response to his time at WVU and how he felt he was treated by the coaching staff.

Mohamed Wague Makes Announcement

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- West Virginia sophomore Mohamed Wague will not return to play for the Mountaineers next season. Wague, a 6'10 forward from Bronx, New York, posted a collage of his time at West Virginia with the following message: "Nothing but love I will always remember my time up here in Morgantown. Coaching staff, teammates, and the people in general. Thank you." Wague, who averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game last season, has visited Kansas State and Alabama, and those are the two favorites to land his services at this time. Wague is currently in Tuscaloosa and is expected to make his decision soon. https://twitter.com/mohamed_wague12/status/1676386592095698944?s=20

The Biggest West Virginia Basketball Game in Years

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tonight at 8:00PM, the biggest, most important baskteball game for West Virginia in years as the WVU women's team meets the #1 ranked Iowa Hawkeyes in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament for a spot in the Sweet 16! Iowa, led by the NCAA's all-time leader in points, Caitlin Clark, easily handled Holy cross 91-65 in the opening round game last week. Clark, who averages 31.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game for the Hawkeyes this season, had 27 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds and 3 steals in the 1st Round of the tournament. Last week, when West Virginia head coach Mark Kellogg said that he wanted to "win one and send Caitlin Clark packing", but has since downplayed the comments. “I told them, 'Let's win one and let’s send Caitlin Clark packing',” Kellogg said as the Mountaineers found out that they could potentially face Iowa in the 2nd round. “I'm not a (trash-talker),” he said. “I wasn’t out to get Caitlin Clark. It’s not Mark Kellogg versus Caitlin Clark. "Our seed is honestly where it started. That wasn’t really the seed maybe that some people in the room were expecting, not even from me necessarily. So it turned into, ‘OK, well, let’s get past that. Now let’s talk about Princeton.’ “Then, of course, everybody in the room knows Caitlin Clark.” Although West Virginia is a 15.5 point favorite in what is a "home game" for Iowa, the Lady Mountaineers (25-7, 12-6) are one of the best defensive teams in the nation and will focus on stopping or at least limiting Clark. The Mountaineers are led by junior guard JJ Quinerly, who is averaging 19.9 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Sophomore guard Jordan Harrison is the only other player (13.9 points per game) who averages double-digits for the Lady Mountaineers. West Virginia playing against perhaps the best player in the history of women's basketball, combined with the backstory with Kellogg and Clark, makes tonight's 8:00PM matchup must see television!  

New West Virginia Basketball Player Gives Thoughts on Pepperoni Rolls

Morgantown, West Virginia - Josiah Harris, a 6'7 freshman forward for the West Virginia Mountaineers basketball team, is from Cleveland, Ohio and before yesterday, he had never tried West Virginia's favorite food, the pepperoni roll. Harris tried one for the first time yesterday and had the following to say about them: "I just had my first pepperoni roll yesterday...oh my goodness I've never had anything better!" Harris averaged 20.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game last season at Richmond Heights High School in Cleveland and chose the Mountaineers over Florida State, Ohio State, Michigan, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, Penn State, Texas A&M, Illinois, Cincinnati, Purdue and Georgetown. Harris suffered a fractured lateral tibia following his senior season, but his recovery is going well and he is expected to contribute to the Mountaineers as a freshman this upcoming season. https://twitter.com/Jojo_bean0730/status/1546132507728420871?s=20&t=XHvk7V6jYQ3qTzPkZiifzg

Oscar, Who?

Morgantown, West Virginia - What at one time seemed like a devastating loss for the Mountaineers now seems like a blessing in disguise. When Oscar Tshiebwe decided to leave the team and transfer to the University of Kentucky, it felt like a tremendous blow for a team with huge expectations. Since then, however, West Virginia is now 7-3 overall with 4 big wins over ranked teams.  In addition, the Mountaineers are making six more field goals and four more 3 point field goals per game since Tshiebwe's departure. In other words, this is a far better, more cohesive unit now.  Bob Huggins confirmed that in his post game interview when he said, "I'm tired of talking about the past.  Every time you turn on one of our games, all they talk about is how we don't have Oscar anymore.  Well, they're right, we don't have Oscar anymore and we're doing just fine." Huggins also took a jab at Tshiebwe, adding, "We're a lot more fun team to coach now too." Not only do the Mountaineers move the ball better and make more shots, Derek Culver has more room to operate in the paint and looks like an entirely different player now.  Overall, West Virginia is a far more exciting, entertaining (and better) team without Oscar Tshiebwe. Kentucky, on the other hand, fell to 5-13 overall this season following an 81-80 loss at home against Arkansas.  The loss put the Wildcats near the bottom of the SEC Conference at 4-7. https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1359325732523151360?s=20 While we wish Oscar all the luck in the world at Kentucky, him deciding to leave Morgantown was perhaps the very best thing that could have ever happened to the West Virginia Mountaineers!

Former Mountaineer Will Play in the TBT

Although West Virginia alumni team "Best Virginia" was forced to withdraw form the upcoming TBT basketball tournament due to several players contracting COVID-19, one former West Virginia Mountaineer has agreed to play in the tournament on a different team. Daxter Miles, Jr., who was scheduled to play for "Best Virginia", has agreed to play for the Fort Wayne Champs, a former Final Four team in the tournament. Miles, who played for the Mountaineers from 2014-2018, currently plays for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in the NBA G League. In addition to Miles, former Mountaineer Devin Williams will play for Floyd Mayweather's Money Team in the tournament, which starts July 4th.  All games will be televised on ESPN. https://twitter.com/thetournament/status/1276928946576097286?s=20