#110 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #110
Conference Rank: #8 Big 12

West Virginia Team Page#110 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy West Virginia Basketball Tickets

West Virginia had a forgettable first season in the Big 12. Coach Bob Huggins and company won just six conference games and 13 games total. The season ended with a seven game losing streak, including a tough loss in their opener in the Big 12 Tournament against Texas Tech. Despite the loss of a few key players, this Mountaineers squad is deeper and bigger. That may not be enough to compete in a very tough Big 12, but it should be enough to earn a postseason berth of some sort.

2012-13 Record: 13-19, 6-12
2012-13 Postseason: None
Coach: Bob Huggins
Coach Record: 133-75 at West Virginia, 723-286 overall

Who’s Out:
Deniz Kilicli was West Virginia’s most potent interior scoring threat last season. He averaged 8.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, although that was a bit disappointing after the 6-9 power forward had a more productive junior season. However, that disappointment was pretty much felt across the board. Dominique Rutledge provided frontcourt depth and an extra rebounding presence. Keaton Miles has opted to transfer after seeing his minutes decrease during his sophomore season. Despite the frontcourt losses, WVU has plenty of big bodies to bring into the mix. The bigger losses could prove to be on the perimeter where Jabarie Hinds and Matt Humphrey are gone. Hinds started 26 games, but was never able to find his shooting stroke.

Who’s In:
Coach Huggins has brought in six forwards who stand between 6-7 and 6-9. Considering the Mountaineers had a rebound margin of just 1.2, which is horrid by Coach Huggins standards, the added size will be extremely welcome. Remi Dibo and Jonathan Holton are both highly touted junior college transfers who are expected to play a huge role right away. Dibo, despite his 6-9, 220 pound frame, may be the best option to play the small forward position. Holton is a bit smaller at 6-7 and 215 pounds, but he is a tough player in the paint who can easily play the four spot. No matter where they play, Coach Huggins suddenly has experienced size to work with and the rebounding will follow. The four incoming freshmen will be asked to provide some depth, but the higher expectations are on the junior college transfers. Elijah Macon and Devin Williams are the more highly regarded freshmen, but Nathan Adrian and Brandon Watkins are capable of making an impact off of the bench during the 2013-2014 campaign.

Who to Watch:
West Virginia will build their team around Eron Harris, Juwan Staten and Aaric Murray. Harris had a very surprising freshman season. He was supposed to come in and play some defense on the perimeter, but instead led the Mountaineers in scoring. He proved to be a capable outside shooter and will step right into the starting shooting guard spot on a full-time basis now. The bigger issue may be whether or not Harris can turn into a leader on the floor. He is just a sophomore, but there was a lack of leadership last season and somebody has to fill the void. Staten failed to live up to the lofty expectations set for him after he transferred in from Dayton, but he did average 7.6 points and 3.3 assists, while keeping the turnovers to a minimum. With a little better shooting and more effective driving and dishing, Staten will get the offense moving much more effectively than he did last year. Murray, like Staten, did not really live up to his expectations either after transferring in from the so-called mid-major level. Murray averaged 15.2 points per game at La Salle back in 2010-2011, but that number fell to 8.8 at WVU. Murray can stretch out the defense with his outside shooting, yet he does more than score. Murray led the Mountaineers in rebounding and blocked shots. It would be nice if he could average about a dozen points per contest, but he does not have to score to have a huge impact on a game.

Final Projection:
Kevin Noreen, an experienced big man, will fight it out with the newcomers for minutes. At 6-10 and 255 pounds Noreen may eventually be the primary backup for Murray at the five spot. For now, however, Coach Huggins may need him to start at the power forward position while the newcomers get acclimated to life in the Big 12. Gary Browne and Terry Henderson will add some much needed depth on the perimeter. Henderson is the best shooter on the team and averaged 8.0 points per game as a freshman. He may not find a spot in the starting lineup since this team will likely want to play bigger and Henderson is not a good enough rebounder to spend a whole lot of time at the three spot. Ideally, Browne, a 6-1 junior, will be the backup for Staten at the point. There has been talk of letting Harris run the show on occasion, but that can only work if WVU finds enough scorers to pick up the slack when Harris is on the ball. That will be the case eventually, but it may take a little time. Not only are there new players with new roles to fit into the system, there is also a lack of leadership. Once all of that works itself out, which may be never if last year was any indication, West Virginia will be a dangerous team in the Big 12.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Juwan Staten, Junior, Guard, 7.6 points per game
Eron Harris, Sophomore, Guard, 9.8 points per game
Remi Dibo, Junior, Forward, DNP last season
Kevin Noreen, Junior, Forward, 3.0 points per game
Aaric Murray, Senior, Center, 8.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 66.1 (209th in nation, 7th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 68.1 (209, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 40.8 (287, 9)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.8 (259, 9)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.3 (258, 6)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 31.6 (251, 5)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.5 (174, 5)
Rebound Margin: 1.2 (137, 7)
Assists Per Game: 12.4 (191, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.0 (157, 5)

Madness 2014 NBA Draft Rankings:
#81 Aaric Murray

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#55 Devin Williams
#98 Elijah Mason


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