Morgantown, West Virginia – Jeff Goodman, college basketball analyst at Stadium, released his way-too-early preseason top 25 for the 2021-2022 season, and the West Virginia Mountaineers made the list.
The Mountaineers are listed as the 23rd ranked team in the nation, according to Goodman, despite many question marks heading into next season.
Miles McBride, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman have all entered their names into the 2021 NBA Draft and while it’s possible that they may all return, it’s also very possible that all three will move on.
Goodman said the following of the 2021-2022 Mountaineers: “There are several questions for the Mountaineers — with the most important being whether McBride comes back to Morgantown. If he doesn’t, Bob Huggins will need to add a transfer point guard. West Virginia has a talented big man in Culver and a couple of quality guards, but again, McBride really is the difference maker for WVU.”
23. West Virginia
Transferring: F *Emmitt Matthews Jr. (Jr., 7.8 ppg), G Jordan McCabe (Jr., 2.2 ppg)
Seniors: G Taz Sherman (13.4 ppg), F Gabe Osabuohien
50-50: G *Miles McBride (Soph., 15.8 ppg)
Back: PF *Derek Culver (Jr., 14.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg), G *Sean McNeil (Jr., 12.2 ppg), F *Jalen Bridges (RS Fr., 5.9 ppg), F Isaiah Cottrell (Fr.), G Kedrian Johnson (Jr.), F Taj Thweatt (Fr.), PF Seny Ndiaye (Fr.)
Add: G Seth Wilson, PG Kobe Johnson
Transfer Add: F Dimon Carrigan (FIU, Sr., 6.8 ppg)
If Miles McBride returns next season, this team has top ten potential. If he leaves, it’s unlikely that West Virginia will be in the Top 25 to start the season. The losses of Emmitt Matthews, Jr. and Jordan McCabe won’t have a great impact on the team’s record, but losing any combination of Miles McBride, Sean McNeil and/or Taz Sherman could be devastating.
In addition, it’s unclear whether Isaiah Cottrell will be fully recovered from injury and Derek Culver has been silent about his future since the team’s loss to Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. If both are back and healthy, West Virginia will have a very formidable front court. If Cottrell is not 100% and Derek Culver leaves the team, the Mountaineers will need to add players in the transfer portal.
There are a lot of positives returning, however. Jalen Bridges’ game should take a step to a whole new level, Gabe Osabuohien is returning for one more season, and the Mountaineers still have a legendary head coach in Bob Huggins who always has his team ready to compete at a high level.
Considering all of the uncertainties and question marks, Goodman’s assessment and ranking of the Mountaineers is very fair. However, if everything goes right and all of the key players return, West Virginia will be ranked considerably higher.
THE WAY-TOO-EARLY GOODMAN 2021-22 PRESEASON TOP 25:
Bookmark the link cause this bad boy will be changing constantly over the next couple months. https://t.co/JmXJ1FK3Az
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 5, 2021