#47 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

West Virginia Mountaineers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #47
Conference Rank: #6 Big 12

West Virginia Team Page#47 West Virginia Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy West Virginia Basketball Tickets

Two straight years of missing the NCAA Tournament is a big deal at West Virginia. The Mountaineers got off to a decent start in 2013-2014, but struggled down the stretch, losing six of their final eight games, including a first round NIT contest against Georgetown. But as long as Juwan Staten is on the floor, this team can make a lot more noise in the Big 12 and reach the NCAA Tournament. Staten, a 6-1 senior, led WVU with 18.1 points, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals. He even added 5.6 rebounds. Staten is an amazing floor leader and nobody in the Big 12 can attack the basket off of the dribble better than him. Obviously he does not need an outside shot to be productive, but if his shot starts dropping, Staten will be absolutely unstoppable.  

2013-14 Record: 17-16, 9-9
2013-14 Postseason: NIT
Coach: Bob Huggins
Coach Record: 150-91 at West Virginia, 739-303 overall

Who’s Out:
On most nights there were four other players capable of helping Staten score. Three of them are gone. Most notable is Eron Harris, who built off of a quality freshman campaign with an even better sophomore season. He averaged 17.2 points per game and was lethal from beyond the arc. Harris plans to spend his final two years at Michigan State. Terry Henderson was the other double digit scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game. He too had a quality sophomore season and opted to transfer, in this case to North Carolina State. Remi Dibo went back to France after his junior year to pursue a professional career. The 6-9 forward was never tough on the glass, but he could stretch out the defense.

Who’s In:
Coach Bob Huggins needed to fill some holes with this class and he certainly did that. Power forwards Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon both redshirted last season and that year in the program will help both of them contribute right away. Holton spent his freshman campaign at Rhode Island where he averaged 10.2 points and 8.1 rebounds. Two years ago he was at Palm Beach State Community College. At 6-7 and 220 pounds, Holton has the size and strength to help WVU focus more of their scoring in the frontcourt. Macon is a tough interior presence and will help this team improve on their awful rebounding of a season ago. A bevy of talent will look to replace the losses in the backcourt. Junior college transfers Tarik Phillip, Jaysean Paige and BillyDee Williams figure to lead the way. Phillip was a big time scorer during his one season at Independence Community College. He can also run the show when West Virginia wants to keep Staten off of the ball a little bit more. Paige is not a big shooting guard, but he can score in bunches. Incoming freshmen Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles and walk-on Wofford transfer James Long give Coach Huggins more options on the perimeter.

Who to Watch:
The frontcourt has a lot of potential with sophomores Nathan Adrian, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins. Adrian started 18 games as a freshman and can shoot the ball. At 6-9, he has the size to play the four spot, but also has the skills to play the three. Williams is expected to take over much of the production in the frontcourt. He had a superb freshman season, averaging 8.4 points and 7.2 rebounds. As long as he can avoid a sophomore slump, Williams could emerge as an All-Big 12 type of talent. Kevin Noreen is the most experienced frontcourt player. He is not a scoring threat, but the senior can eat up a lot of space in the paint and eat up some fouls.

Final Projection:
Gary Browne was the sixth man last season and could fill in that role again this year. He could certainly step into a starting role for his senior season, but there is suddenly a lot of competition on the perimeter. Brown’s experience will give him the leg up for now though and he is a decent all-around scorer who can attack the basket and knock down some three-pointers. If he is asked to shoot more, Browne should be up for the job. In the end though, this is a very young team that will rely heavily on underclassmen to work around Staten. That may lead to a slow start, but this group has the talent to compete in the Big 12 and end Coach Huggins’ mini NCAA Tournament drought.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA Tournament

Projected Starting Five:
Juwan Staten, Senior, Guard, 18.1 points per game
Gary Browne, Senior, Guard, 5.9 points per game
Nathan Adrian, Sophomore, Forward, 5.4 points per game
Devin Williams, Sophomore, Forward, 8.4 points per game
Kevin Noreen, Senior, Forward, 2.0 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.2 (34th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 73.4 (262, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 43.9 (189, 7)
Field-Goal Defense: 44.7 (229, 10)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (41, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 38.1 (41, 2)
Free-Throw Percentage: 72.1 (93, 4)
Rebound Margin: -0.6 (207, 8)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (141, 7)
Turnovers Per Game: 9.8 (11, 1)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#46 Juwan Staten


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