TAMPA, FL - MARCH 19: The mascot for the West Virginia Mountaineers perfroms against the Kentucky Wildcats during the third round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at St. Pete Times Forum on March 19, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Don't worry we didn't forget about you Mountaineers. Here is the final installment of A Post-Deadline Look at the Big East.
West Virginia ended last year with a 21-11 record, finishing 7th in the Big East with a record of 11-7. The Mountaineers reached the second(third) round of the NCAA's after earning a 5 seed. They defeated Clemson in their first game in the NCAA's and then lost to Kentucky who got their revenge for West Virginia ousting them in the Elite 8 last year.
How will this years squad fare?
Early Entry: None
Transferring: Dan Jennings(2.1pts, 2.5rbds), Dalton Pepper(3.9pts, 1.6rbds)
Seniors: Kevin Jones(13.1pts, 7.5rbds), Darryl Bryant(11.3pts, 3.0asts, 2.4rbds)
Juniors: Deniz Kilicli(6.6pts, 4.0rbds)
Red Shirt Freshman: Kevin Noreen(2.6pts, 1.7rbds)
Jabarie Hinds 5'11" PG #51 Scout #93 Rivals NR ESPN
Aaron Brown 6'5" SF NR
Gary Browne 6'0" PG NR
Tommie McCune 6'7" PF NR Scout #102 Rivals, NR ESPN
Keaton Miles 6'6" SF NR
Pat Forsythe 6'10" C NR
Dominic Rutledge 6'8" PF #26 Juco according to jucorecruiting.com
West Virginia loses the majority of their team. However they do return three very key veteran pieces that will give Coach Huggins something to build around. Gone are 5th year seniors Joe Mazzula, Cam Throughman, and Jonnie West. Gone are leading scorer Casey Mitchell and best defender John Flowers. Gone is key reserve Dalton Pepper and disgruntled reserve Dan Jennings. Jennings best known for getting up and walking off the bench in the middle of a game and never coming back. West Virginia loses it's main assist man (Mazzulla), it's only consistent three point shooters (Mitchell, West), and most of it's toughness(Thoroughman, Flowers)
West Virginia Loses:
- 55.4 percent of its scoring
- 61.8 percent of its rebounding
- 67 percent of its assists
- 66.2 percent of its steals
- 77.2 percent of its blocks
The Mountaineers return Point Guard Darryl (Truck) Bryant, Swing Man Kevin Jones who flirted with the NBA this off season before returning to Morgantown, and the Big Turk Dennis Kilicli. They also return Red Shirt Freshman Kevin Noreen who only played in 7 games last year due to injury and will provide depth in the front court.
Huggy Bear brings in a seven person recruiting class to try and fill in the ranks of his team. The prizes of this class are point guard Jabarie Hinds and Juco Transfer Dominic Rutledge. The rest of the prospects are unheralded.
- Jabarie Hinds: Lightning fast point guard. I saw him play in the Capital Classic and he was the most impressive player on the floor. He has a great handle and is improving at getting others involved although is still a score first point guard. He can get out of control at times leading to turnovers and he needs to improve the consistency on his outside shot, but he is deadly slashing to the rim.
- Dominic Rutledge is a Juco Transfer. He will have two years of eligibility remaining. He's a good athlete, and he's not afraid to bang and is a solid rebounder.
- Aaron Brown: He's a PF in a SF's body. He's a high energy hustle guy who will fit in with Coach Huggins' style of play. He needs to develop his perimeter skills: Dribbling and shooting.
- Gary Browne: A member of the Puerto Rican National team he is still getting used to the American game. But he is a solid combo guard that can shoot the ball and make plays for others.
- Tommy McCune is a long athletic perimeter oriented power forward. He can shoot it out to twenty feet but he needs to work on his handle and improve his defense.
- Keaton Miles: Another player that will be right at home in Bob's scrappy club. He's aggressive, atheltic and a good rebounder. At 6'6" he'll need to develop basketball skills in order to be successful He needs to develop a shot and his handle to progress at this level.
- Pat Forsythe: He is a project big man. Candidate for a red shirt. Definitely needs to add strength before being ready to bang in the post in the big east. He has good upside potential though.
West Virginia loses a lot of key players off of last years team. The amount of success the Mountaineers will see next year will depend on how much they can get out of their freshman class. Jones, Bryant, and Kilicli are mostly known quantities. Jones will be called upon to lead this team. Kilicli has the most room for improvement out of the returning players. I can't see West Virginia being that successful unless the freshman class surprises. I expect the Mountaineers to finish around 10th in the league.