(Image from WVU Sports)
With a completely new roster for the 2022-23 Basketball Season, the Mountaineers look to improve from a disappointing 2021-22 campaign. Last year, WVU went 16-17 (4-14) ending its season to 6th ranked Kansas (the eventual National Champions) in the second round of the Big 12 tournament. This year, things SHOULD be much different.
The Mountaineers are losing almost ALL of their players from last season, returning G Kedrian Johnson, G Kobe Johnson, G Seth Wilson, F Jamel King, and F James Okonkwo. Aside from that, the roster will look completely different with transfers F Emmit Matthews Jr. (Washington), G Erik Stevenson (South Carolina), F Mohamed Wague (Harcum), F Pat Suemnick (Triton), and G Joe Toussaint (Iowa).
Though we don’t know much about what this new roster entails, we do know their individual stat lines. Matthews averaged 11.7 PPG and 4.7 RPG at Washington. Stevenson averaged 11.6 PPG and 4.7 RPG at South Carolina. Toussaint averaged 4.3 PPG, 3.2 APG, and 1.2 SPG. Wague in JUCO averaged 14.8 PPG, and 11.9 RPG as well as being named a First-Team All-American in JUCO.
What will be the really interesting part of this year is how difficult the schedule is. Besides playing the usual tough round-robin conference slate, the Mountaineers play in the Phil Knight Legacy tournament that hosts Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Xavier, Portland State, Purdue, and of course, the Mountaineers. If they can win that tournament, I would say that West Virginia has a really good chance of having a 20-win season, but aside from that, they still have to play Pitt in Pittsburgh, Xavier in Cincinnati (regardless of if they play them in the PK Legacy tournament), Buffalo, UAB, and Navy. All of those teams are no pushovers (especially seeing how West Virginia lost to Buffalo in Morgantown in 2019.)
This team, in general, will be A LOT better than last year’s team with players that seem to be more determined and experienced than the players we had last year, but it will take a couple of years before this team is a true conference championship contender. I do believe that West Virginia WILL in fact make the NCAA tournament this season though with a predicted 19-11 (10-8) record.
This season will be extremely tough, but I have faith that Hall of Fame Coach Bob Huggins has us on the right track for greatness.