MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – After a week into West Virginia’s basketball season, it is evident that the top-2 scoring options are Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil.
Sherman and McNeil were the leading scorers from last year’s team that returned.
Through the first three games, Sherman is averaging 20.7 points, as he eclipsed his career-high against Elon on Thursday night. WVU needed someone to take the keys of the offense from the loss of Miles McBride.
Last night, Mike Asti and I talked about the potential third-option for the Mountaineers to consistently rely on.
Who can that guy be?
Against Pitt, Jalen Bridges had a game-high of 18 points on 6-of-9 shooting from the field. This is what the Mountaineers need from Bridges. The sophomore forward doesn’t take many shots, and isn’t very aggressive in forcing up any shots.
Last season, Bridges stepped into the starting lineup once Oscar Tshiebwe entered the transfer portal half-way through the season. The West Virginia native averaged 5.9 points in 28 games.
Thought the first three games, Bridges is averaging 10.7 points on 57 percent shooting. Bridges should be the obvious choice for the third-option but he’ll need to be more aggressive just in case the shots aren’t falling for Sherman or McNeil.
Isaiah Cottrell has shown flashes of becoming a great offensive player for the Mountaineers. Cottrell has recently recovered from an achilles injury and has entered himself into a bigger role this season.
In the first week-and-a-half of the season, Cottrell has played on the perimeter, expanding his range even more than last season. Cottrell hit his first three with West Virginia against Elon. The Huntington Prep product recorded his season-high 21 minutes and nine points as well against the Phoenix.
It could take Cottrell some more time to get the hang of the speed of the game but he will always be a potential third-option this season for WVU.
When Malik Curry transferred to the Mountaineers, the perceptions as that he would try and replace McBride. Curry and the team were able to find his appropriate role this season, which is the offensive spark off of the bench that can help on the defensive end.
So far, Curry has shown that he can be the third-option, as he scored 10 points against Pitt, shooting 5-of-5. On defense, him, alongside Kedrian Johnson, have created many problems for the opponents, as they trap the ball handlers.
Keddy Johnson and Curry are a huge reason why the Mountaineers have forced so many turnovers this season.
Curry’s game offensively includes driving and mid-range shots. There has been times where Curry has drove in the paint and kicked it out to an open 3-point shot.
Curry is averaging 6.3 points on 60 percent shooting from the field.
(Top Photo: Kelsie LeRose – WVSN)