Morgantown, West Virginia – Derek Culver has always been a double-double machine, but since the departure of Oscar Tshiebwe, he has become so much more to the team than mere statistics and numbers.

Derek Culver has become the undisputed go-to player, the leader, the rock of the West Virginia Mountaineers.  Following a recent comeback win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys, Culver made it clear that he was willing to do whatever it takes to win games for his team: “I will go to war 110 percent every day with the guys I got in the locker room. That’s a no-brainer.”

And go to war he does.  Culver is typically draped with opposing players on his back and spends most of the game being hacked, but still manages to put up big numbers for the Mountaineers.  In thirteen games this season, Culver has seven double-doubles and is averaging 13.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game.

Bob Huggins calls him the best interior player in the Big 12 Conference by far.  “Derek has been terrific. He and I had a little heart-to-heart the day before the Oklahoma State game about how much we need him on the floor and competing.”

Culver has gone from a player that was suspended for the first ten games of his freshman season for conduct detrimental to the team to a player that is now relied on to be a leader.

Derek Culver has always been talented on the floor, but his maturity is what’s made the real difference for the team.  He’s no longer out of control offensively or emotionally; he’s now a focused force, a dominant rebounder, a consistent scorer with his back to the basket, and an outstanding defender.

Derek Culver has come a long way.  If the Mountaineers are going to go far in March this season, they will do it on the back of Derek Culver.