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Bock: Season Predictions for West Virginia Basketball



West Virginia Basketball Jesse Edwards

We are officially within a day of West Virginia basketball taking the floor for the first time this season, as well as the first time without Bob Huggins in 16 years. Let’s take a look at my predictions for the team, as well as the players.

**These are predictions assuming RaeQuan Battle’s appeal stands

Individual Predictions:

Team MVP: Jesse Edwards

HM: Kerr Kriisa, Quinn Slazinski

Best Shooter: Kerr Kriisa

HM: Seth Wilson

X-Factor: Quinn Slazinski

HM: Josiah Harris, Ofri Naveh

Glue Guy: Josiah Harris

HM: Patrick Suemnick

Most Valuable Underclassman: Josiah Harris

HM: Ofri Naveh

Point Leader: Jesse Edwards

Rebound Leader: Jesse Edwards

Assist Leader: Kerr Kriisa

Steal Leader: Jesse Edwards

Block Leader: Jesse Edwards


Team Predictions:

Record: 16-16 (7-11 Big 12)

Overall Thoughts:

WVU interim HC Josh Eilert is in a tough spot heading into the season after the recent incidents that capped off a chaotic offseason. After parting ways with Jose Perez, this team had their depth killed during the last month. WVU G RaeQuan Battle had his waiver denied by the NCAA. West Virginia Governor Jim Justice and AG Patrick Morrisey are trying to work with the NCAA to let Battle play. WVU F Akok Akok had a health scare during the exhibition game against George Mason. Eilert has only ruled Akok out in the short term. Akok’s timetable long-term is unknown. Then to make it worse, guard Kerr Kriisa was suspended for nine games after receiving unauthorized benefits while at Arizona.

The team of eight scholarship players that are left shows a lot of worries to be had this season. Depth is clearly an issue as any foul trouble will result with Eilert having to get creative with the lineups. Defense and rebounding, outside of Jesse Edwards, will be an issue, but can be improved on. Without Battle, Akok and Kriisa this team will be really relying on Edwards and Quinn Slazinski to carry the load offensively with major help needed from Seth Wilson, Josiah Harris and Kobe Johnson.

Even when Kriisa returns to the floor in mid-December, this team will have a six-game gauntlet from closing out non-conference with Ohio State into Big 12 play.

If Battle and Akok cannot return to the court this season, I don’t see West Virginia making the NCAA Tournament. If they both can play, this team should exceed expectations and be in the hunt for a bid. Either way, West Virginia basketball fans should be patient this season and have zero expectations going into the season.

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