The West Virginia Mountaineers are without a doubt one of the deepest, most talented teams in the NCAA, but their phenomenal lack of leadership is really becoming apparent.
When the Mountaineers need a big shot or someone they can count on consistently, who do they turn to? Jordan McCabe leads by example by getting to practice early and leaving late, but his efforts have not translated to his play on the court. Averaging only 3.4 points a game while shooting 28.6% and with a 1.9-1.3 assist/turnover ratio, McCabe has spent most of the key minutes this season on the bench.
Seniors Jermaine Haley, Logan Routt and Chase Harler, while certainly important parts of the team, are not on-court leaders and are not the type of players that will put the team on their back and carry them in difficult games.
Head Coach Bob Huggins, following the frustrating loss at Oklahoma, said, “I know this, the guys that we have depended on all year are not the same dudes, man. Not the same people.”
What’s most discouraging for Huggins is the fact that he knows that he has a group of players that are capable of winning a national championship if they come together as a team and play the way that he knows they can play.
“We’re good enough to beat anybody in the country if we have the right frame of mind. Somehow, we got to have the right frame of mind. I’m not in charge of their attitude and their teammates are not in charge of their attitudes. Each player is in charge of their own attitude.”
While this West Virginia team has the talent to beat anyone, they also have the youth, inexperience and lack of leadership that leads to losses in games that they should win. Derek Culver, Oscar Tshiebwe and Miles McBride will likely grow into tremendous leaders later in their careers, they are still very young and are not yet ready to be relied on to win big games.
For the Mountaineers to live up to their incredible potential, they will need a leader like Jevon Carter to step up, put the team on his back and carry the team to wins in difficult, challenging situations.