West Virginia Basketball is Back

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — With the ruling that RaeQuan Battle will now be eligible to play immediately, the West Virginia Mountaineers are officially back. 

Through the first nine games of the 2023 season, the Mountaineers have looked dreadful with only 7-8 scholarship players in the rotation. At times, they have competed against very good teams, but ultimately they would run out of steam in the 2nd half and failed to be able to finish games effectively due to fatigue. Now, with RaeQuan Battle, Kerr Kriisa, who is returning from a 9 game suspension and potentially Noah Farrakhan, an unbelievably talented point guard who transferred from Eastern Michigan, West Virginia could now feature a full rotation with a really loaded roster.

Interim head coach Josh Eilert recently said the following about getting Kriisa back in the lineup: “Kerr is a magician in so many different ways in terms of reading defenses,” explained Eilert, whose team has been 4-5 to this point in the season without Kriisa. “I’ve talked numerous times that what we put in place was built around a point guard like Kerr. That’s not to say Kobe hasn’t done a great job. He’s done an absolutely phenomenal job, but point guard is not really his natural position. Now we can move Kobe off the ball a little bit. He’s been a masterful defender, and now it will be great to have two ballhandlers on the floor.

Having Kerr out there will be a game-changer in terms of our offense and offensive production,” Eilert added. “Not only is he masterful at timing passes, but he also puts it right in the pocket of where it needs to be. Our field-goal percentage will go up just because we have a point guard like that on the floor.”

West Virginia’s lineup will likely now look like the following:

Starting Five

Kerr Kriisa

RaeQuan Battle

Quinn Slazinski

Akok Akok 

Jesse Edwards 


Noah Farrakhan 

Ofri Naveh

Josiah Harris

Kobe Johnson

Seth Wilson

Pat Suemnick

This is not only a team capable of winning 8-12 games in the Big 12 Conference and potentially making a run in the Big 12 Tournament, it’s also a team that could make noise nationally in March during the NCAA Tournament. West Virginia would still lack interior depth, particularly if Akok Akok doesn’t return to his regular form, but the starting lineup is loaded with a lot of talent that has a ton of experience. Kriisa, Battle, Slazinski, Akok and Edwards have all played major minutes in big games, and this level of experience would be a huge plus in postseason play.

A week ago, the West Virginia men’s basketball season appeared to be a complete wash. The team was barely getting by very mediocre teams at home and losing to teams that they should not have, but the tide is turning and if everything falls in place just right, the Mountaineers will absolutely be a serious contender to finish the season.