Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers are an absolute mess and the future of the basketball program looks very bleak right now.
West Virginia was going to have a rebuilding year even if all of their possible talent returned. With Jalen Bridges and Isaiah Cottrell – the two cornerstone players of the future of the team – leaving, the situation in Morgantown has gone from bad to worse. Losing senior guard Sean McNeil to the transfer portal this evening was just icing on the cake.
Huggins will now return Kedrian Johnson, Kobe Johnson, Jamel King, Seth Wilson and James Okonkwo. Kedrian Johnson is a nice returning senior with real experience, and Kobe Johnson, King, Wilson and Okonkwo are fine young returning pieces.
But this is not a core to build a team around.
The Mountaineers will add Josiah Harris and Josiah Davis, two under-the-radar guards, and Pat Suemnick, a 6’8 forward who has had success at the JUCO ranks.
But again, these are not immediate difference-makers that will turn the Mountaineers into contenders in the Big 12 Conference.
Huggins and his staff have been busy in early this offseason, but landing mid-level junior college players (see: Mohamed Wague, Jimmy Bell, etc.) is not going to replace what they’ve lost and it’s certainly not going to win conference championships when competing against the likes of Kansas, Baylor, Texas, Texas Tech, etc.
While other programs in the conference can offer recruits so much, what exactly is Bob Huggins’ selling point to attract potential prospects?
- West Virginia has a very nice practice facility, but at this point it’s ten years old and most schools that the Mountaineers are competing with have similar facilities.
- Bob Huggins is historically very successful, but he does not have a good track record of putting players in the pros while at West Virginia.
- Huggins and his staff are tough, hard-nosed coaches that make men out of boys. Playing for Huggins is tough, and less and less players want to be put through the pain, hardship and exertion needed to earn Huggins’ trust and respect.
Unless absolutely everything falls in place perfectly, West Virginia is going to have a very long, difficult season, and unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be much of a light at the end of the tunnel for the Mountaineers.
Although Huggins has promised to fix it, this isn’t a quick or easy fix. It will take multiple seasons and a lot of work to get West Virginia back to being a real contender again.