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What Does West Virginia Need to Prioritize in the Transfer Portal?



Photo: Kelsie LeRose / WVSN

Monday begins the busy season for college basketball players entering their names into the transfer portal. After West Virginia figured out this season that they’ll need immediate impact from transfers from now on, what do the Mountaineers need to do to rebuild the team?

Without going into too much detail, it was clear that Bob Huggins and his staff need guys that are going to be able to stay for multiple seasons. Malik Curry, Pauly Paulicap and Dimon Carrigan were additions from the transfer portal last season, but only had one year of eligibility. The three transfers were great for WVU in the latter part of the season. Curry averaged 18.2 points in the final six games of the season, while Paulicap and Carrigan brought consistent energy off the bench.

“I don’t think [the transfer portal] is good for your fans,” Huggins said. “I don’t think years from now our fans are going to be talking about a guy who played here for a year. I kind of favor having the guys here [for multiple years].”

So it’s back to the drawing board for the coaching staff. The number of transfers depends on how many non-seniors decide to stay. Sean McNeil and Kedrian “Keddy” Johnson have the option to return to Morgantown for their fifth-year of eligibility. Jalen Bridges, Isaiah Cottrell, Kobe Johnson, Seth Wilson, Jamel King and James Okonkwo still have their free transfer option if they decide to use it this offseason.

Just by this estimate, West Virginia will need three to four transfers from the portal. Let’s take a look at the type of players they could use.

Rebounding / Defensive Big Man

This season, rebounding and points in the paint were WVU’s kryptonite. The Mountaineers were 312th in the country in rebounding and 328th in the country in two-point field goals. WVU needs a big man or two.

If the coaching staff can go out into the portal and get a guy who averages eight rebounds and two blocks a game, that’ll help tremendously. If WVU moves Cottrell to the four, they can pair him up with a defensive-minded center that can rebound as well.

As of now, West Virginia will have Cottrell, Okonkwo and Fede Federiko as their big men. One or two big men from the portal would help this team if they are established and don’t need much development.

Experienced Wing

Next season, the Mountaineers are looking at an early wing rotation of Bridges, King, Josiah Harris, Patrick Suemnick. A very young group of players that haven’t played many Big 12 games, outside of Bridges. It’s too early to tell who will be on the team, but having another wing player will help their depth.

Floor General

This past season, West Virginia was 336th in the country in assists. Sherman was the only Mountaineer to average over two assists per game with 2.4. Kedrian Johnson, Kobe Johnson and Seth Wilson are projected to be the ball handlers next season. The trio dished out 74 combined assists. Josiah Davis is a high school recruit, but it’s tough to judge any of the incoming freshmen before they even arrive on campus.

West Virginia could use a point guard from the portal that creates plays and doesn’t turn over the ball.

West Virginia Sports Now will keep up to date with the latest transfer portal news during the offseason.

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Ethan Bock is pursuing his bachelor’s degree in journalism at WVU. He currently is an intern with the Final Fourcast podcast. Ethan has covered WVU football and men’s basketball for the last year. He is from Cincinnati, Ohio.

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