West Virginia’s defense was severely lacking last season. The Mountaineers finished in the bottom half of the Big 12 in points allowed (72), opponent field goal percentage (44.7%) and opponent 3-point percentage (33.5%).
WVU coach Bob Huggins said a large part of the team’s defensive issues stemmed from the Mountaineers not having a shot-blocker on the roster. What makes a player a good shot blocker, according to Huggins?
“What makes them good at blocking shots is that they block shots,” Huggins said ahead of the Big 12 Tournament.
By just that metric, West Virginia did not have anything close to a shot-blocker last season. The team’s leader in blocks, junior forward Derek Culver, averaged less than one block per game (8.3).
With that in mind, it is not very surprising that Huggins prioritized adding a proven shot-blocker this offseason, picking up a commitment from Florida International graduate transfer Dimon Carrigan Monday night.
Carrigan, by Huggins’s metric, is indeed a shot-blocker. The Boston native led FIU with 60 blocked shots last season and finished in a tie for second place in Conference UCA. 60 blocks were enough to land Carrigan in the top 20 nationally as well. Coming out of high school in 2017, Carrigan was regarded as the best shot-blocker in the nation.
The stat even more striking than Carrigan’s block total, however, is his block percentage – an estimate of the percentage of 2-point shots he blocked while on the floor. According to sports-reference.com, WVU’s leader in block percentage among regular contributors last season was Culver at 3.5%. Even defensive specialist Gabe Osabuohien only had a block percentage of 2.6%. Carrigan’s block percentage last season was a staggering 13%.
Even expecting a drop off in Carrigan’s production moving from C-USA to the Big 12, he should easily be the Mountaineers’ best shot-blocker next season and might be the key to fixing the team’s interior defense.