The Future of West Virginia Basketball is Very Bright

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — When West Virginia University announced the hiring of Darian DeVries as its next head coach, it truly started a new era of Mountaineers basketball. DeVries, 48, has been ultra successful at Drake over the last 6 seasons, finishing his run there with a 150-55 (.732) record and 3 NCAA appearances. In the history of Drake basketball, they have only been to the NCAA Tournament 7 times, and DeVries took them there 3 times in only 6 years.

In other words, Darian DeVries is a consummate winner. In addition to winning on the court, you can’t find a negative thing that has been said about him, and I looked for one. He’s as much a winner off the court as he is on the court. He’s a passionate, fiery competitor but also creates a family atmosphere in his basketball program.

But enough glazing of DeVries. What he brings to the table is not only his track record of winning, he will also likely bring his top players from Drake. His son, Tucker, the 2-time Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, is already rumored to be following his father to West Virginia. In addition, three of Drake’s other best players – freshman guard Kevin Overton, senior guard Atin Wright and sophomore guard Conor Enright – all entered the transfer portal today.

Because of the timing of their announcements, it’s almost a certainty that they will all end up in Morgantown as well. If DeVries brings those four players, in addition a few of the key pieces from the current West Virginia roster, a complete rebuild will not be nearly as difficult as you might think.

Kerr Kriisa, the team’s starting point guard, who had an up-and-down season for the Mountaineers last year, put together his best season of his collegiate career, averaging 11.0 points and 4.7 assists while shooting a career-high 42.4% from three point range. If he can reduce his turnovers (2.9 per game last season), he’s precisely the right kind of veteran point guard who could lead DeVries’ offense.

In addition to Kriisa, some of the other potential returning Mountaineers include: Pat Suemnick, Noah Farrakhan, Josiah Harris, Kobe Johnson, Seth Wilson, Ofri Naveh and Jeremiah Bembry. If DeVries decides to keep 3-4 players on the current roster…say, Suemnick, Farrakhan, Harris and either Johnson, Wilson or Naveh, on top of the possible four players he’s bringing from Drake, that’s a very good start. Obviously West Virginia will have to be very active in the transfer portal and they are well-equipped to do so with one of the top NIL collectives in the nation (Country Roads Trust).

If DeVries brings his players from Drake with a combination of West Virginia’s top returning players, it would be a nice collection of youth and experience, and there would be plenty of room to add a handful of quality players from the portal. With all things considered, after going through what the program went through during last offseason, the direction of the program is certainly trending upward and the future is very, very bright in Morgantown.