West Virginia Needs Jose Perez NOW

Morgantown, West Virginia – The West Virginia Mountaineers have lost 2 consecutive games and have fallen to 10-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big 12 Conference with the 3rd ranked Kansas Jayhawks coming to town on Saturday.

West Virginia desperately needs a spark, a scoring punch, a go-to player who they can rely on to finish close games.

Enter Jose Perez. Perez, a 6’5 guard who transferred from Manhattan, was chosen as the preseason Player of the Year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. He averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 assists and 3.2 rebounds last season. In other words, he’s exactly what the Mountaineers need to push them over the top moving forward.

Perez was denied immediate eligibility by the NCAA on December 16 and West Virginia appealed the decision. Bob Huggins released the following statement on the matter: “We are disappointed by the news that we received this afternoon from the NCAA,” Huggins said. “All of Mountaineer Basketball is hurting for Jose.”

Initially, it was reported that Manhattan, Perez’ previous school, didn’t comply with the NCAA and didn’t agree that Perez should be immediately eligible.

However, in a statement given to ESPN’s Jeff Borzello, Manhattan said it handled its side of Perez’s transfer paperwork “in a timely manner.”

“Manhattan College completed all of the required NCAA transfer forms requested by West Virginia University in a timely manner and did not object to Jose Perez’s waiver application,” Manhattan said in its statement. “All further questions should be directed to WVU and the NCAA.”

In other words, there’s really nothing standing in the way of Perez joining the Mountaineers immediately. A meeting on his eligibility was scheduled to be held in the last few days and we could hear either really good news, or more bad news.

With Perez, the Mountaineers could potentially make a big run. Without Perez, West Virginia will likely continue to struggle against the top Big 12 Conference schools, particularly on the road.

The NCAA has been extremely lenient with eligibility for transfers, particularly when a coaching change is involved, and it seems that Jose Perez is being made an example of. It’s time for the NCAA to make the fair, reasonable, common sense decision to make Jose Perez eligible.