Most Experienced and Talented Starting Lineup Ever at West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — West Virginia has had some very experienced and talented starting lineups over the years, but none compare to the starting five that the Mountaineers will roll out for the 2023-2024 season.

Shockingly, the West Virginia coaching staff – led by the incredible efforts of Director of Recruiting and Personnel, Jay Kuntz – have managed to rebuild its roster after a tumultuous offseason, losing Tre Mitchell, Joe Toussaint, Mohamed Wague and James Okonkwo following the arrest and resignation of Bob Huggins.

Not only is the roster rebuilt, it’s arguably much more experienced and more talented than it was previously. The additions of St. John’s transfer Quinn Slazinski and Georgetown transfer Akok Akok offset the losses of Mitchell, Wague and Okonkwo, and Jose Perez deciding to return for his final season to play for the Mountaineers gives the team an outstanding veteran presence in the back court. In addition, West Virginia added Jeremiah Bembry, a talented young point guard to play behind Kerr Kriisa, as well as Ofri Naveh, a 6’6 freshman from Israel who has NBA potential.

With everything considered, West Virginia has absolutely worked miracles over the past two months. In less than two months – Bob Huggins was arrested on June 17th – the Mountaineers have a team ready to compete in the Big 12 and nationally at the highest level.

There just aren’t many more experienced and talented starting lineups in the nation right now and this could potentially be the best starting five that West Virginia has ever started a season with.

In three seasons at Arizona, Kerr Kriisa appeared in 76 games and started 70 of those, averaging 9.9 points and 5.1 assists per game last season. Jose Perez, a 6’5 senior from Bronx, New York, has played in 97 games during his four-year career, and averaged 18.9 points per game during the 2021-2022 season. RaeQuan Battle, a 6’5 guard, has appeared in 104 games during his college basketball career, and he averaged a career-high 17.7 points per game last season. Akok Akok, a 6’10 super-defender and rebounder, has appeared in 86 games at UCONN and Georgetown, averaging a solid 6.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Jesse Edwards, the team’s starting center, has played in 95 career games at Syracuse and averaged an impressive 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game for the Orange last season.

The Mountaineers are built to win and they are built to win now. Obviously the players will have to mesh and learn to play together, but on paper, this is an experienced group of players that has the size, athleticism and talent to compete with any starting five in the nation. West Virginia basketball is back and it’s better than ever.