Saturday, September 23, 2023

Huggins offers the Top Player in WV

The top basketball recruit in the state of West Virginia for the 2022 class has officially been offered a scholarship by West  Virginia University. McKneely holds offers from Marshall, Davidson, Liberty, Robert Morris, Xavier and now West Virginia. According Poca High School’s Head Coach Allen Osborne, “He’s not a one-trick pony.  He can shoot it. He can put it on the floor. His defense is improving. I think by the time he is a senior, he’s going to be very, very special.” McKneely, who only currently weighs approximately 160 pounds, is a high school Sophomore and has plenty of room to grow and get stronger, but he has all the skills to play at high level in a tough conference like the Big 12.  According to Next Up Recruits, “ Isaac has a great shot with good form. Coupled with a high IQ and the ability to handle the ball, Isaac has an advanced offensive game for his age. He looks to be one of the top 2022s in the state of West Virginia.” McKneely has formed a relationship with WVU Head Coach Bob Huggins and has visited Coliseum to see the Mountaineers play.  McKneely called his trip to Morgantown earlier in the year “amazing.”  It appears that Bob Huggins landing this talented in-state player is very, very likely.

WVU Basketball Offers 2026 ForwardWVU extended an offer on Monday evening

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — West Virginia has extended an offer to class of 2026 forward Maximo Adams. Adams, who is from Harbor City, CA announced the offer via his Twitter. Adams is the younger brother to former Kansas four-star forward Marcus Adams Jr., who requested his NIL release from the Jayhawks on Monday. “I would like to request a release from my national letter in order to find out where I truly belong,” he said via Twitter. “It was a hard decision. I decided it would be best for me mentally and for my family. I will re-open my recruitment as well. Thank you and please respect my decision.” Since being offered by WVU, Adams has received two more offers from UC Santa Barbara and Missouri but has compiled over 10-plus offers.

Big 12 Coach of the Year Says Bob Huggins Belong in the Hall of...

Morgantown, West Virginia - Countless people in the world of sports have spoken out about Bob Huggins' snub from the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.  Moments ago, the Big 12 Conference's Coach of the Year, Baylor's Scott Drew, added his thoughts on the matter. "I know I speak for the Big 12 coaches when I say Coach Huggins deserves to be in the Hall of Fame." Drew, a two-time Big 12 Coach of the Year, led his Baylor Bears to a 21-1 overall record and a 13-1 record in conference play this season.  Baylor is the top seed in the Big 12 Conference Championship and a near lock to be a 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. If West Virginia can get by Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers will meet Drew's Baylor Bears on Friday evening.

Bob Huggins’ Best Decision Ever

Morgantown, West Virginia - The West Virginia Mountaineers were 0-4 in the Big 12 Conference and headed towards another losing season on January 11th. Bob Huggins promised a whole state of people that he would "fix" it and he was running out of options. Huggins made an incredibly difficult decision personally, firing his long-time assistant and friend, Larry Harrison. Harrison, 68, had worked alongside Huggins from 1989-1997 at Cincinnati and then from 2007-2023 at West Virginia. Since Harrison was fired, West Virginia has been a completely different team. Huggins hired a younger assistant that players could better relate to - something desperately needed for years - in former player DerMarr Johnson. Since this hiring, the Mountaineers have played looser with more enthusiasm and they appear to actually be having fun on the court. In other words, the firing of Harrison and the hiring of Johnson was precisely what West Virginia needed to turn this season around. Despite what former players thought, there was a very good reason that Harrison was fired. West Virginia’s new athletic director saw what a lot of people have seen within the program and he acted in the best interest of the basketball program. Bob Huggins is loyal to a fault and he’s (not-so) subtly indicated that he has a bunch of “BSers”, a bunch of players and members of his coaching staff who don’t really belong on the team. After a particularly frustrating loss early in the season, Huggins had the following to say: “I have been blessed. I’ve had some special guys, special guys who loved the game, special guys who said, ‘I’m going to be somebody at this game,’ and meant it. We’ve got a bunch of BSers. They don’t really want to be special. They want to hang on. We’ve got too many guys. Sometimes I have too big a heart and let guys around who shouldn’t be around and try to help them. Probably the same with the staff. We’ve just got to go back and figure out how we can compete.” Since the only change that has been made after Huggins made this comment is firing Larry Harrison, one could be led to imply that he was referring to Harrison as at least one of the people who “shouldn’t be around and just wants to hang on.” Huggins knew that Harrison was part of the problem, saw his program declining in a dramatic way and knew that changes had to be made, and thankfully Huggins made the difficult decision to fire Harrison or the Mountaineers would likely be in the NIT or not playing in the postseason at all.

Thankful for Gabe Osabuohien

Sioux Falls, South Dakota - After re-watching yesterday's season-opening game for West Virginia, one player stood out as particularly effective in his role for the Mountaineers.  Senior forward Gabe Osabuohien just does everything right on the court and makes his team so much better when he's in. Osabuohien, who finished with 3 points and 8 rebounds in 20 minutes of play, doesn't necessarily impress in the box score, but he's exceptional in non-box score intangibles.  Osabuohien is the do-it-all energy guy off the bench who also plays lockdown defense and has an underrated perimeter game. While the experiment of playing Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver at the same time continues to be ineffective, playing Osabuohien next to one of them in the starting lineup makes almost too much sense. Osabuohien doesn't need the ball in the post, or anywhere for that matter.  He's happy to hang around the basket, collecting rebounds and getting putbacks in for easy scores.  He's the ultimate garbage man, and in the game of basketball, having a player that does all the dirty work is absolutely necessary for a successful team. Not only does Osabuohien do all of the unheralded things on the court, Bob Huggins believes he can contribute in a variety of ways for the Mountaineers this season: “I think in a lot of ways he’s our best passing big guy.  You play pick-and-roll situations, and a lot of times he’s going to be the passer. The other thing he can do is put pressure on the rim. He’s a better ball-handler than any of our other bigs. He’s a better straight-line driver than our other bigs. And he’s making some free throws now.” Whether Osabuohien is a starter or not, he will be in when the game is close and during crunch times.  He's an absolutely invaluable player for the Mountaineers, and although he is a Senior, this season doesn't count towards eligibility and he could conceivably return to Morgantown for one more year. Huggins said the following about his two seniors, Taz Sherman and Gabe Osabuohien: "If everything was normal, those would be the two guys that would be finishing their eligibility this year. With everything that’s happening, they’re going to have the opportunity to come back.  I don’t know who wouldn’t take Taz and Gabe back if they wanted to come back.”

Josh Eilert Announces His Coaching Staff

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Moments ago, West Virginia’s new interim head coach announced his new coaching staff via a press release from West Virginia University. According to the release, here is the staff changes that will happen effective immediately: “Da'Sean Butler, DerMarr Johnson, Jordan McCabe and Alex Ruoff will be assistant men's basketball coaches. Ron Everhart will transition to director of community relations and player outreach, Jay Kuntz continue as the director of player personnel/recruiting, Trent Michaels will be the director of men's basketball operations, Jared Kortsen will be the video and scouting coordinator and Tyler Cheung will remain the athletic data statistician for men's basketball.” "We are thrilled to welcome Da'Sean back to Mountaineer basketball," Eilert said. He's a Mountaineer legend who is just a great human being. Da'Sean has NBA connections and is such a personable guy; he will fit in our program extremely well." "Like Da'Sean, we are elated to have Jordan back with Mountaineer basketball," Eilert said. "We are fortunate to have a former point guard on our staff. He will be able to develop our guards and help them with the vision of where we are going. He, too, is wonderful with people in creating and maintaining relationships."  

Big O with a Big Change

Morgantown, West Virginia - Sophomore forward Oscar Tshiebwe, who was recently named to the All Big 12 preseason first team, made a big change to his hair. Tshiebwe has decided go to blonde for the next month or so. “I just decided that I wanted to make a change and I’ll probably change it back to black when we get back from South Dakota. The Mountaineers open the season on November 25th in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in the Bad Boy Mower Crossover Classic against Texas A&M. Today, Tshiebwe was also named to the “Karl Malone Watch List”, an award given to the nation’s top forward.

Bob Huggins Wants Fans in the Stands at the Coliseum

Morgantown, West Virginia - Bob Huggins has made no secret of his disdain for the current COVID guidelines in college basketball right now.  With all of the renovations that have happened inside the Coliseum since last season, Huggins is eager to get fans back in the building, cheering on the Mountaineers. In his postgame interview following the home opener against North Texas, Huggins said the following:  "We have 14,000 seats in the Coliseum. It's beautiful.  New scoreboard...the same scoreboard that you have in Madison Square Garden and this place doesn't look 50 years old anymore.  It looks new and vibrant." Huggins continued: "It's missing one thing.  It's missing people in the seats.  There are 14,000 seats, and we can't put 3,000 in here and spread them out?" Huggins has a point.  The Coliseum is a massive arena and 3,000 people can easily socially distance safely while watching the games.  While it would take an organized effort to accomplish it, it's certainly something that could be done without risking the health of anyone in attendance. College sports are not the same without fans and a home court advantage is non-existent without the support of the home crowd. According to Huggins, it really does affect the players as well.  "This is such a sterile atmosphere.  It's not what they (players) signed up for, to be honest with you.  It's not what they signed up for.  I don't get it.  I don't get it because it's about the guys that are playing." Perhaps Huggins' pleas to allow fans will convince the university to change their stance in the near future.  However, in the meantime, West Virginia will have to play very challenging opponents like the 19th ranked Richmond Spiders tomorrow inside a near-empty Coliseum without the advantage of a home court crowd supporting them.

West Virginia Favorites to Win the Big 12 Next Season

Whether Oscar Tshiebwe decides to return to college next season - and there's a growing feeling that he will not return - the West Virginia Mountaineers are the deepest, most talented team in the Big 12. The Big 12 Championship always goes through Lawrence, Kansas, but the Jayhawks' center Udoka Azubuike finally graduated and their engine that made the team run this year, Devon Dotson, has entered his name into the NBA Draft and will almost certainly remain there.  Although he has the ability to return to Kansas, KU Head Coach Bill Self said at the time of Dotson's announcement that "this is the right time to pursue a professional career." Both Baylor and Texas Tech are well-coached and have a lot of talent returning, but the depth, size and skill that the Mountaineers return is unquestionably the best in the conference next season, even if Oscar Tshiebwe makes the decision to remain in the NBA Draft.  To be clear, Tshiebwe has the strength, motor and size to play professionally now and will get a mid to late 2nd round projection from NBA scouts and experts during his NBA Draft process.  Guaranteed money for an opportunity to make your dreams come true is hard if not impossible to turn down. Tshiebwe is happy in Morgantown and sincere in his desire to want to return to play for the Mountaineers, but Huggins will be honest with him and tell him that although he'd love to have him back, ultimately Tshiebwe is ready to compete in the NBA. With Tshiebwe likely gone, Derek Culver will be...well, Derek Culver again.  Culver and Tshiebwe never meshed well playing together at the same time and Tshiebwe's departure will be the very best thing for Culver's game. Derek Culver playing next to ultimate role player/garbage man Gabe Osabuohien or incoming freshman sensation Isaiah Cottrell is a much, much better fit for him.  Expect Culver to averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds as the Mountaineers' go-to player next season. Although Miles McBride was good last season, imagine what he will be capable of next season as he takes over as the unquestioned floor leader for the Mountaineers.  He will no longer play his role off the bench, he will be the man as a sophomore.  McBride is simply too good to not be on the court at the start and end of games. Pair McBride next to a pure scorer like Taz Sherman, Sean McNeil or incoming JUCO transfer Kedrian Johnson will make West Virginia's backcourt scary good.   Bob Huggins said a year ago that he'd fix the issues on his team and he's certainly done that.  He couldn't be happier with his group of players and this is a capable of not only winning the Big 12 Championship, they can compete for the NCAA National Championship.

Debaba Tshiebwe is Headed to Morgantown

Oscar Tshiebwe, the fabulous freshman forward for the West Virginia Mountaineers, is destined for greatness.  He has the size, skill, drive and athleticism to be one of the most talented players to ever play for the Mountaineers.  Because of his incredible talent, it’s unlikely that he will stay at WVU for all 4 seasons and will almost certainly leave early for the NBA.  However, there could be another Tshiebwe on his way to Morgantown. Oscar has a younger brother, Debaba, who is making a name for himself as a young rising basketball star.  Debaba, who just wrapped up his 8th grade year, plays for the “Wildcats Select” 15 and Under team and trains with “WV Mpact”, an AAU/Training Program. Debaba Tshiebwe, a 6’6 235 pound 14 year old, has plenty of time to grow but has already developed physically into an incredibly strong young man. Eric Hampford, the Director of Scouting for MADE Hoops, called the younger Tshiebwe “a physically dominant forward with a non-stop motor.”  That sounds very similar to his older brother, Oscar. MADE Hoops@madehoops Most Improved Award 8th Grade: DeBaba Tshiewebe #314 7th Grade: Rashee Bell #280 6th Grade: Chase Garcia #67#MADEAcademy 47 8:07 PM - Jun 17, 2019 Twitter Ads info and privacy The 2023 recruit continues to steadily show major progress and  won the Most Improved 8th grader at the MADE Academy. According to the WV Mpact, “Debaba is a physical specimen just like his brother was at a young age.  He didn’t have the greatest weekend offensively, but he showed that he is a monster on the glass and will alter shots.  The big man runs the floor well and has a high ceiling with his potential.  He is still raw and working on his game, but as a 2023 recruit, we know that soon he will be a beast and a force to be reckoned with.” With four years to grow and mature, Debaba could potentially grow to be taller and even more polished than Oscar by the time he enters college.  Although there is obviously no guarantee that he will end up at WVU four years from now, I recently communicated with Debaba via text and asked him point blank if he would one day play for the Mountaineers.  His answer: “Yes, God willing.”

Best Virginia Adds Former Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Best Virginia, a team comprised mostly of West Virginia alums, will once again compete this summer in the TBT, a single elimination tournament with a $1 million prize going to the winner. Today, Best Virginia added former West Virginia stars Sean McNeil and Chase Harler.  McNeil, who transferred to Ohio State prior to last season, played for the Mountaineers from 2019-2022, averaging 12.2 points per game in his final season with the team. Harler, a Moundsville, West Virginia native, played for the Mountaineers from 2016-2020. In addition to McNeil and Harler, Best Virginia will feature former West Virginia players Jaysean Paige, John Flowers, Kedrian Johnson, Kevin Jones, Nathan Adrian and Teyvon Myers. Other players on the team include Jamel Morris, a former player at Fairmont State, Jordan Allen, who played at Rider University, Keith Wright, who played at Harvard, Nathan Flowers who played at Oklahoma City and Quincy Ford, who played at Northeastern University. James Long will once again serve as the head coach of the team. Best Virginia will play an exhibition game to prepare for TBT on July 15th in Fairmont, West Virginia against College Park Boys, a Maryland alumni team.

Why Sagaba Konate Didn’t Play for Best Virginia

Morgantown, West Virginia - Former West Virginia Mountaineers forward Sagaba Konate was scheduled to play today for alumni team Best Virginia in the 1st round of the TBT, but unfortunately he sat at the end of the bench and did not play a single minute. It now appears that he will miss the entire tournament. Reportedly, Konate signed with professional Italian League team Pallacanestro Trieste of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A last week and they have instructed him to not participate in the TBT. This, of course, is particularly disappointing for Best Virginia, who was counting on Konate to be the primary defensive stopper and rim protector for the team. Konate, West Virginia's all-time leader in blocked shots, has bounced around from the NBA G League to professional opportunities overseas, and still intends to make a run at making an NBA team. Best of luck to Konate in the Italian League, but Best Virginia will certainly miss his defensive energy and presence during the TBT. Best Virginia is back in action on Monday night at 9:00PM against the winner of D2 and Bleed Virginia.  The game will be televised live on ESPN2.

WVU Loses Big Man to the Transfer Portal

The Mountaineers have suffered another loss to the transfer portal following the resignation of Bob Huggins. Morgantown, WV - West Virginia has suffered yet another loss to the hands of the transfer portal. According to 24/7 High School Sports on Twitter, Mountaineer Forward Mohamed Wague has entered the portal following the resignation of Bob Huggins. Wague averaged 4.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game during the 2022-23 season. He becomes the fourth player to enter the transfer portal for WVU. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown for updates.

McCabe unlikely to accept role as backup

Jordan McCabe is a winner and he's used to being in the spotlight.  From the time that he was a child traveling around the country, performing during halftime shows and with the Harlem Globetrotters, he's comfortable as the center of attention. McCabe's recent demotion to backup point guard for the Mountaineers won't sit well with him.  Miles McBride, the fabulous freshman, has certainly outplayed McCabe and deserves to be the starter, but McCabe will likely go two ways. To begin, he will attempt to regain his starting role by outworking everyone else, but ultimately his work ethic can't overcome the talent disparity between himself and McBride.  In addition, McCabe's lack of athleticism will always make him a weakness on the defensive end.  Playing for Bob Huggins, a coach that values defense more than any coach perhaps in the history of college basketball, McCabe will never be able to fully please his head coach. Once this is clear to McCabe (and it probably already is very apparent to him), he will begin to contemplate his future with the Mountaineers.  Is remaining with the Mountaineers for the last two years of eligibility the best decision for his future?  For a player that does not have much of a future past college, McCabe's opportunity to play immediately is particularly important to consider. Jordan McCabe can either stay with West Virginia and spend a majority of his time watching Miles McBride from the bench, challenging him the best he can in practice, or he can transfer to a smaller school back home in Wisconsin, where he's a legend, and play out the remainder of his two years in college as a starting point guard and leader of a team. McCabe is an outstanding young man, has done everything right since he's come to Morgantown, but unfortunately a player like him, who is flashy offensively and deficient on defense, is not a particularly great fit for a Bob Huggins' basketball team.

A Star is Born

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia's loss today at Oklahoma was disappointing for a couple of reasons.  It would have been nice to win the game following Oscar Tshiebwe's sudden departure from the team.  It would have shown that the Mountaineers were going to be just fine without Tshiebwe and would have been a huge confidence booster. The Mountaineers were so close to completing a rally from a 18 point first half deficit to beat a very solid Big 12 team on the road.  Winning any game on the road in the Big 12 is not an easy task. Despite the disappointments and negatives from the game, West Virginia had one bright, promising aspect from the loss.  Redshirt freshman Jalen Bridges proved that he can compete at a high level and be a very productive player in West Virginia's starting lineup. In his first start of his career, Bridges finished with 19 points on 7-9 from the field and 5-6 from three point range.  In addition, he added 3 rebounds and 2 steals for the Mountaineers. Bob Huggins wasn't surprised by his productivity.  "He’s gotten better and better and better. I’ve been amazed, really, on how much better he’s gotten. His attitude towards practice and the way he approaches things has absolutely been terrific,” Huggins said. Huggins also has referred to Bridges as one of the best players in practice for the Mountaineers and one of the team's best offensive rebounders. With Oscar Tshiebwe leaving the team and freshman forward Isaiah Cottrell out for the season with a torn Achilles' heel, West Virginia suddenly went from a team with incredible interior depth to a team that will rely on young players to produce. Jalen Bridges proved today that he's just the player to step in and fill the void left by Tshiebwe and Cottrell.  Not only is Bridges an incredible teammate, he's a very smooth player that can shoot, get to the rim, finish and rebound.  For a freshman, he's tremendously polished. Bridges' debut in the starting lineup today was only the beginning to what will be a long and exceptional career in Morgantown!