#15 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers
2018-2019 Overall Rank: #15
Conference Rank: #3 Big 12
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With the loss of leading scorers Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, West Virginia’s focus will shift to the frontcourt. With so much experience in the paint, Coach Bob Huggins will be able to have a frontcourt that can dominate the glass and score plenty of points too. The Mountaineers have reached the Sweet Sixteen three times in the last four years and this group could do it too if they can find some effective replacements on the perimeter.
2017-18 Record: 26-11, 11-7
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Bob Huggins
Coach Record: 255-130 at West Virginia, 773-316 overall
Key Departed Players:
Jevon Carter, Guard, 17.3 ppg
Daxter Miles Jr, Guard, 12.9 ppg
Teddy Allen, Forward, 7.0 ppg
Maciej Bender, Forward, 1.2 ppg
D’Angelo Hunter, Forward, 1.5 ppg
Key Returning Players:
Sagaba Konate, Junior, Forward, 10.8 ppg
Lamont West, Junior, Forward, 9.4 ppg
Wesley Harris, Junior, Forward, 5.3 ppg
Esa Ahmad, Senior, Forward, 10.2 ppg
James Bolden, Junior, Guard, 8.7 ppg
Chase Harler, Junior, Guard, 1.6 ppg
Logan Routt, Junior, Forward, 1.1 ppg
Key New Players:
Derek Culver, Freshman, Forward
Trey Doomes, Freshman, Guard
Andrew Gordon, Sophomore, Forward, JC Transfer
Jermaine Haley, Junior, Guard, JC Transfer
Taevon Horton, Freshman, Guard
Brandon Knapper, RS Freshman, Guard
Emmitt Matthews Jr, Freshman, Forward
Jordan McCabe, Freshman, Guard
Esa Ahmad missed the first 15 games last season due to suspension and having him back for a full season will help immensely. The 6-8 senior averaged 10.2 points and 5.5 rebounds last season and the three-year starter brings a wealth of experience to the frontcourt. Sagaba Konate is the team’s top returning scorer, averaging 10.8 points per game. He also led the team with 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks. Fellow juniors Lamont West and Wesley Harris have plenty of starting experience too and with those four leading the way, this is a great frontcourt with plenty of depth. The backcourt will have to get more production from James Bolden, a 6-0 junior who averaged 8.7 points per game last season. Bolden is a very good outside shooter and should be ready for a quality campaign with more playing time headed his way. Chase Harler only averaged 10.0 minutes per game as a sophomore, but he will be asked to do more now. Redshirt freshman Brandon Knapper, junior college transfer Jermaine Haley and incoming freshmen Trey Doomes and Jordan McCabe will need to step up and provide some options for Coach Huggins on the perimeter. If they can, West Virginia will be one of the best teams in the Big 12.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.1 (45th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 69.6 (100, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.6 (230, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 42.6 (90, 5)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.7 (82, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.3 (156, 7)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.6 (24, 1)
Rebound Margin: 3.6 (61, 4)
Assists Per Game: 15.2 (75, 4)
Turnovers Per Game: 11.4 (42, 1)
Madness 2019 NBA Draft Rankings:
#16 Lamont West
#28 Sagaba Konate
Madness 2018 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#101 Derek Culver
#147 Emmitt Mathews
#153 Jordan McCabe