Morgantown, West Virginia – With the signing of Jimmy Bell, Jr., the West Virginia Mountaineers have one scholarship remaining to fill for next year’s team.
Bell, who averaged 9.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game at junior college Moberly last season, is an underwhelming addition to the roster. Although Bob Huggins has finally been active in the transfer portal, it’s impossible to claim that he’s effectively replaced what he lost last season.
Losing Jalen Bridges, Isaiah Cottrell and Sean McNeil to the transfer portal on top of seniors Taz Sherman, Malik Curry, Dimon Carrigan, Pauly Paulicap and Gabe Osabuohien was truly devastating for the basketball program.
Gaining Joe Toussaint, Erik Stevenson, Mohamed Wague and Jimmy Bell in the portal certainly showed that Huggins was willing to make the effort to rebuild his team with transfers, but this combination of players simply isn’t as good as what Huggins had to work with last year.
And remember, West Virginia finished 16-17 last season and in dead last place in the Big 12 Conference.
Toussaint, Stevenson, Wague and Bell are fine role players, but who is going to replace Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil’s scoring? There’s little doubt that West Virginia will rebound better next season, but Huggins won’t be able to play bully-ball like he has in the past with an exceptionally-talented roster full of incredible athletes. Virtually every team in the Big 12 has more talent and more athleticism than West Virginia as well.
The Mountaineers don’t have one consistent three-point shooter on the entire roster. While the new players on the roster may be tougher than last year’s players, toughness only gets you so far. Someone is going to need to score in order to compete, and if Huggins thought his offense was brutal last season, it’ll likely be a nightmare next year.
While it’s easy to label last year’s roster “soft” and “entitled”, the players who left were talented in ways that next year’s team just won’t be.
Last year’s starting lineup for #WVU:
2022-2033 projected lineup:
Has #WVU’s lineup upgraded or downgraded?
— The Voice of Morgantown (@voicemorgantown) April 18, 2022