Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers will be among the most talented, fear teams in all of college basketball when the season starts in two days.  Loaded with size, skill, toughness and depth at every position, Bob Huggins has an abundance of options and possibilities with his lineup.

Jalen Bridges, the 6’8 redshirt freshman forward from nearby Fairmont, West Virginia, decided to sit out last season and to work on his game.  By all accounts, Bridges used his redshirt season to get bigger, stronger and become a much better perimeter shooter.

He keeps getting better and better,” said Huggins. “Shaun (Strength and Conditioning Coach Shaun Brown) would say he’s one of the best guys he has in the weight room and that he has gotten so much stronger. He’s getting so much bigger.”

Huggins continued: “If he didn’t redshirt last season and we were going to play our best guys, he would have been in the group of our best guys.  He’s gotten better and better and better. I’ve been amazed, really, on how much better he’s gotten. His attitude towards practice and the way he approaches things has absolutely been terrific.”

West Virginia will rely on Bridges to back up Emmitt Matthews, Jr. on the wing and to play major minutes during key moments this season.

“He’s 6’8 now and is guy that can make shots, he can stretch the defense and he’s gotten much better defensively.  We will count on him to give us minutes this season and to contribute,” said Huggins.

While the Mountaineers have talent everywhere on the court, Jalen Bridges is the X Factor for a West Virginia team that will likely make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament this season.

Bridges’ length, three point shooting and rebounding, make him West Virginia’s “swiss army knife”, a player capable of performing many different functions at a high level and the player that will be the difference between a great team and a national championship contender.