Morgantown, West Virginia – Although Derek Culver was a double-double machine and a first team Big 12 Conference performer as a junior last season, the West Virginia Mountaineers will be a better, more exciting team without him.
When Oscar Tshiebwe decided to transfer in the middle of the season, Bob Huggins openly admitted that he felt the Mountaineers would be an improved team when his former five star recruit left the team.
His reasoning? Not only would removing Tshiebwe from the paint open up his offense more, he also wanted players on his team that wanted to be there. Tshiebwe made it abundantly clear that he was unhappy. His body language was terrible and his stats were way down from the previous season.
The same could be said for Derek Culver. Culver is an extremely gifted athlete and still produced respectable stats most of the time, but his defense and effort – particularly in the 2nd half of the season – were simply unacceptable.
One of the major issues with West Virginia down the stretch was poor interior defense, and Derek Culver was a huge part of that. His lackadaisical attitude on the court was apparent to everyone watching, and it’s pretty clear that his decision to leave West Virginia University was made in the middle of the season, not over the past few weeks.
Derek Culver made the right decision for himself and his family. He would not have improved his draft stock by returning for another season and he was right to strike while it’s hot following Big 12 first team honors.
Not only did Culver do what’s best for himself but his decision to leave will also benefit the West Virginia Mountaineers. His unenthusiastic, indifferent effort will be replaced by two hungry defenders in Dimon Carrigan and Pauly Paulicap.
We wish Derek Culver nothing but the best in his pursuit at becoming a professional basketball player and thank him for leaving at the appropriate time.