After a horrid 2018-19 season, West Virginia men’s basketball put up a much-improved offensive showing last season.
The Mountaineers shot 42.2% from the field and were fifth in the Big 12, averaging 70.3 points per game. Paired with one of the top defenses in the country, WVU won 21 games in 2019-20. Heading into the 2020-21 season, WVU coach Bob Huggins expects his team to show further improvements scoring the ball, but not because of any one player.
“I think it’s really going to be offense-by-committee,” Huggins said Thursday. “There’s going to be days when Derek [Culver] is our leading scorer, there’s going to be days when Deuce [Miles McBride] could be our leading scorer, there’s going to be days when Emmitt [Matthews] could be our leading scorer. There’s going to be plenty of days when I think those guys coming off the bench could be our leading scorer.”
Huggins thinks there is enough talent and depth on the team this season that they should be able to score no matter what kind of defense they are facing.
“I think it just depends on what the other team’s trying to take away and what we can take advantage of,” Huggins said. “And I don’t think it matters to those guys. This is a very close team. They genuinely like each other, they genuinely care about each other. They hang out together in non-basketball situations, they enjoy each other’s company. I don’t see where it makes any difference who scores and I don’t think they really care as long as we win.”
WVU’s leading scorer last season was true freshman Oscar Tshiebwe, who averaged 11.2 points per game. Right behind him was his frontcourt counterpart, Derek Culver, who averaged 10.4 points. Both Preseason All-Big 12 honorees, Huggins said Tshiebwe and Culver have both worked this offseason to add to their offensive repertoires.
“I think the biggest thing [Oscar’s] done is he’s worked on his shot,” Huggins said. “He’s become a pretty consistent 15-17 foot jump shooter, which we really needed because with him and Derek, they had a tendency to sit back in there and the one closer to the basket would get double-teamed because [the other team] didn’t have to pay much attention to either one of them making jump shots. I think it’s changed for both of them, but probably more for Oscar.”
Tshiebwe was the Mountaineers’ leading scorer in nine games last season, most on the team. Culver did it six times, point guard Miles ‘Deuce’ McBride was the only other player to do it more than twice, leading the team four times. Five Mountaineers averaged more than five points per game last season and nine players attempted over 100 shots. WVU also returns six of its top seven scorers from last season for 2020-21.