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Huggins Expects Newcomers to Contribute Next Season, In Limited Roles

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After the massive amount of roster turnover Bob Huggins had to deal with last season, WVU’s head coach will have a simpler time of things this summer, adding, so far, only three new scholarship players to next year’s team.

These newcomers, JUCO guard Kedrian Johnson and freshmen forwards Taj Thweatt and Isaiah Cottrell, are as talented a group has Huggins has ever brought to West Virginia, according to him.

“They’re a talented bunch,” Huggins told Tony Caridi in the most recent United Bank Playbook. “That’s probably as good a three-man class we’ve brought in since I’ve been here anyway.”

Johnson committed to WVU in November and was a scoring phenom at Tempe College. The Dallas, TX native averaged 25.6 points as a freshman in 2018-19 and 25.5 points as a sophomore last season. Johnson shot 47.1% from the floor this season, 32% from three and 84.1% from the free-throw line.

Thweatt is rated a three-star prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals and committed to WVU in September. Thweatt averaged 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds as a senior at Wildwood Catholic last season. He averaged 20.2 and 4.2 as a junior.

A Huntington Prep product, Cottrell was rated as a four-star prospect by both 247 and rivals. He averaged 18.9 points and 9.3 rebounds as a senior last season.

Last season Huggins had to rely on a lot of first-year Mountaineers. Led by true freshmen Oscar Tshiebwe (717 minutes) and Miles McBride (689 minutes), first-year Mountaineers played 44.4% of all of WVU’s minutes last season.

Due to the number of players returning from last year’s team, however, Huggins said he will not need to play the newcomers as much in 2020-21. The decisions by Tshiebwe and Derek Culver to not turn pro especially help out according to Huggins.

“If we would’ve lost Derek or Oscar (to the NBA), not you’re talking about playing a freshman a whole lot of minutes,” Huggins said. “They’re gonna play, we need to play them and they’re going to help us, but not in 30 minutes, they can’t play that…They have a lot of physical ability, they’re skill level is pretty good, it’s just the (college) game’s faster.”

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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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