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Who Does West Virginia Look Towards After Loss of Perez?



Seth Wilson West Virginia Basketball

West Virginia’s basketball team continues to face drama within their program this offseason as they parted ways with fifth-year senior guard Jose Perez on Saturday night. Perez did not attend study hall, which led to disagreements between both parties throughout the week, a source tells WV Sports Now.

Perez was projected to start for the Mountaineers this season under first-year interim HC Josh Eilert. After nearly a full calendar year of trying to get Perez eligible and re-recruiting him during the coaching transition, the 6-foot-5 guard will not log a single minute with the Mountaineers. Now with Perez gone, who does West Virginia look towards to step up?

Eilert and his staff have many options to go with but still have many unknowns. The biggest question mark is if RaeQuan Battle will be ruled eligible by the NCAA. Battle is transferring for the second time during his collegiate career, and the NCAA made it known that they would be more strict on those waivers. Battle averaged 17.7 points on 47% shooting from the field for Montana State. The Tulip, Wa. native scored 27 points against Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Battle was named to the All-Big Sky First Team during his senior year.

Now with the dismissal of Perez, West Virginia getting Battle’s waiver is even more important now than ever. If Battle is denied, WVU will be picking at their bench to replace two double-digit scorers at the mid-major level. Numbers-wise, WVU has 13 to practice with on the roster, but the in-game depth is questionable.

Here’s WVSN’s projected starting five without Perez, assuming Battle’s waiver is cleared:

Kerr Kriisa – G

Seth Wilson – G

RaeQuan Battle – G

Akok Akok – F

Jesse Edwards – C

Bench: Jeremiah Bembry (G), Josiah Harris (F), Kobe Johnson (G), Ofri Naveh (F), Ali Ragab (C), Quinn Slazinski (F), Patrick Suemnick (F)

Redshirt: Noah Farrakhan (G)

As of Oct. 1, Seth Wilson makes the most sense to get the starting nod. Wilson is entering his third season with West Virginia and can put points on the board if his teammates find him. Wilson averaged 4.2 points on 42% shooting from three last season. The Lorain, Ohio native scored in double figures four times: Texas Tech (15), Portland State (12), Baylor (11) and Buffalo (10). Wilson’s defense is worrisome but would put the ball in the basket.

Eilert and his staff could also have Josiah Harris, Kobe Johnson or Quinn Slazinski play the three. Harris and Johnson played the three last year off the bench for the Mountaineers but are either ready for the next step? Slazinski is a veteran from the transfer portal and has Power-5 experience but WVU needs someone consistently reliable off the bench.

WVSN will keep you updated with Battle’s waiver as well as West Virginia’s projected rotation.

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