West Virginia Mountaineers
2012-2013 Overall Rank: #40
Conference Rank: #5 Big 12
West Virginia Team Page
West Virginia is headed to the Big 12 and will be an immediate contender. Coach Bob Huggins is back in his old conference and will join programs like Kansas and Texas as consistent players for a title. But for now the Mountaineers have a little rebuilding to do. However, thanks to a slew of talented transfers and a few freshmen, WVU has the talent to make a serious run in 2012-2013. The question is how long it will take for this group to come together as a team.
2011-12 Record: 19-14, 9-9
2011-12 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bob Huggins
Coach Record: 120-59 at West Virginia, 710-267 overall
WVU does lose their top two scorers in Kevin Jones and Darryl Bryant. Jones tallied 19.9 points and 10.9 rebounds during his senior season and the Mountaineers put a lot of pressure on him to score. When it was not Jones scoring, Bryant would get the job done. Although inconsistent from long range, Bryant still averaged nearly 17 points per contest and losing Jones and Bryant is a big hit. Pat Forsythe, Paul Williamson and Tommie McCune will not return to West Virginia after seeing limited action a year ago.
The newcomers are dominated by transfers. Aaric Murray, Matt Humphrey and Juwan Staten will all make major contributions to this team. Replacing Jones and Bryant got much easier. Murray spent two years dominating the competition at La Salle. The 6-10 center is a superb scorer, rebounder and shot blocker. Two years ago with the Explorers he averaged 15.2 points per game and he has the ability to come close to that number in the Big 12. Humphrey is a graduate transfer from Boston College who will play his senior season with the Mountaineers. The 6-5 wing averaged 10.3 points per game last season and could be the shooter this team needs. Staten spent just one season at Dayton, but he proved to be a quality player who can score in bunches and keep control of the ball while getting up and down the floor. With a player like incoming freshman Terry Henderson joining the fray, WVU should be much deeper on the perimeter. More importantly, they should have a couple shooters as well. Eron Harris and walk-on Aric Dickerson will add even more depth to a suddenly deep backcourt. The frontcourt adds Ukrainian Volodymyr Gerun. He is a talented prospect but may need some time to develop his game.
Who to Watch:
The newcomers would form a pretty good team on their own, but the Mountaineers do return seven players who averaged at least ten minutes per game last year. The frontcourt will rely on Deniz Kilicli to be the new leader. The 6-9, 260 pound senior is a tough player who is coming off a fine junior campaign in which he averaged 10.7 points and 5.3 rebounds. He did slow down towards the end of the season, but with Jones gone he will have plenty of opportunities to increase his numbers. However, the Mountaineers will need him to play better in March. Kevin Noreen missed some of his freshman campaign with an ankle injury, but he should emerge as a superb backup behind Kilicli and Murray as long as he can stay healthy. With Dominique Rutledge adding even more beef to the frontcourt, the Mountaineers have the size and strength to battle with anybody in the paint. Keaton Miles could return to his starting spot at the small forward position. He only averaged 13.1 minutes per contest, but he did start 30 games as a freshman. Starting or not, Miles is a tough defender who could do a little bit of everything. Yet, it would be beneficial if you could do a little more shooting.
Miles’ starting job will be in jeopardy if Coach Huggins wants to have a smaller lineup on the floor most of the time. Jabarie Hinds could spend more time off the ball this year with Staten in the mix. After tallying 7.4 points and 3.3 assists per game, Hinds can certainly handle running the show again this year. Either way, Coach Huggins has two great ball handlers who are not too shabby in the scoring department either. Gary Browne and Aaron Brown both showed plenty of potential as freshmen and should turn into viable scoring threats as long as they can earn the playing time. Brown is also a candidate to be the shooter this team desperately needs to find. As long as they do find a shooter, West Virginia has the frontcourt depth and talent and the scorers on the wing and leaders at the point to make a major impression during their first year in the Big 12.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Jabarie Hinds, Sophomore, Guard, 7.4 points per game
Juwan Staten, Sophomore, Guard, DNP last season
Keaton Miles, Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 points per game
Deniz Kilicli, Senior, Forward, 10.7 points per game
Aaric Murray, Junior, Center, DNP last season
Madness 2013 NBA Draft Rankings:
#68 Aaric Murray
Madness 2012 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#55 Elijah Macon