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Photo Courtesy of West Virginia Sports

Morgantown, West Virginia – Recent Hall of Fame inductee Bob Huggins has never liked to find players in the transfer portal, but Huggins landed a top ten transfer class, adding Iowa transfer Joe Toussaint, South Carolina transfer Erik Stevenson, Texas transfer Tre Mitchell and Washington transfer Emmitt Matthews, Jr., as well as JUCO additions Mohamed Wague and Jimmy Bell Jr.

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.

Huggins’ success in the transfer portal showed that he was willing to adapt and make the effort to rebuild his team in a new way, but this combination of players simply isn’t as talented 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? Emmitt Matthews, Jr. is a tremendous athlete, but he’s never been particularly consistent.

There’s little doubt that West Virginia will rebound better this 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.

The 2022-2023 West Virginia Mountaineers football season appears to be headed towards one of its worst seasons ever and unfortunately, the basketball season won’t likely be much better.

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