Six new players in WVU’s basketball plans
After successive seasons laden with too few wins and several players so dissatisfied they transferred out of Morgantown, West Virginia basketball will present its followers with six new faces next season.
The record was 13-19 in 2013 and it only moved to 17-16 in 2014. There was no saving grace from a tournament because the Mountaineers lost out to Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus and the Georgetown Hoyas in the National Invitation Tournament this past March.
The circus had first dibs on the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where Georgetown plays its home games, so the first-round NIT game was sent to the cramped McDonough Arena on the Hoyas’ campus. The Mountaineers lost that one and went into a roster-changing off season.
Starting guards Terry Henderson and Eron Harris both transferred. Although he hasn’t left as yet, Remi Dibo, a native of France, could be missing when on-court practice begins in October.
Six players will be coming from across the basketball map to join the hunt for a better 2014-15 season.
Elijah Macon was on campus last season. But he wasn’t eligible after playing at Huntington (WV) Prep for a season and then going to Brewster Academy in New England for the 2012-13 season. Macon wasn’t cleared by the NCAA to play last season. Reportedly, he will be eligible for the upcoming campaign and his 6-foot-9 frame is badly needed.
Another player, the 6-foot-7 Jonathan Holton, was on campus last year but was also ineligible to play. He has been at Rhode Island as a freshman and then enrolled at Palm Beach State CC in Florida in 2012-13. Holton is expected to have a significant role when next season begins.
Four guards from varied backgrounds will be on campus for the first time.
There are two more junior college transfers in 6-foot-3 Tarik Phillips from Independence CC in Kansas and fellow guard Jaysen Paige, who was at Moberly CC in Missouri for the 2013-14 season.
Two high school guards will be joining with the able Juwan Staten (WVU’s leading scorer and a All-Big 12 first-team selection for his 18 points-a-game season).
Javon Carter is a 6-foot-1 player from Proviso High in Maywood, Illinois and Daxter Miles is a 6-foot-3 player from Baltimore who was at Notre Dame Prep for the 2013-14 season.
Six new players coming to Morgantown, where winning against the Big 12 teams hasn’t been frequent enough to find the NCAA tournament.
Six new players and only one of them has ever played in a Division I basketball game and that was two years ago at Rhode Island.
Staten is a pillar with his consistent scoring and point guard directorship.
Can Holton and Macon reduce the roles of Nathan Adrian and Kevin Noreen, both of whom are eligible to return in the coming season?
Will Dibo be back?
Questions — some with little meaning even if answered and others with real sigificance — will surround the Mountaineers for months, if not years, to come.