With most departures brings new arrivals, and for WVU basketball, Derek Culver hopes to blast on to the scene in Morgantown.
Derek Culver is a 6’9″, 205 lb. power forward from Warren G. Harding high school in Ohio. The 4-star (247sports) recruit is recognized as a top-100 player nationally and garnered serious attention from the likes of Arizona, Clemson, Indiana, Ohio State and WVU, among others.
There are some questions surrounding his senior season, but he’s committed to Bob Huggins and the ‘Eers.
Culver will be joining forces with a former high school opponent in Esa Ahmad. The two Ohio-natives squared off in a 2015 district championship that saw Ahmad’s Shaker Heights squad win, 49-38; he scored a game-high 23 points. Culver, then a sophomore, only netted 10, but pulled down 15 rebounds and swatted three shots. This performance followed a 26-point scoring effort that propelled his team to the district championship.
Culver’s game has developed nicely since then, though.
He averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior while leading Harding to a 23-4 record and a Division I district championship. This production also earned him All-Ohio Honorable Mention honors from the Associated Press
During a MetroNews “Sportsline” interview in April, Huggins thought Culver would be a contributor early on..
"“Derek gives us a big guy with a lot of length, and he’s a guy who may be able to play at the top of the press,” Huggins said. “I think those guys are going to come in and help us.”"
With that line of thinking, Culver could replace departed senior Nathan Adrian in the full-court press. Culver is more Jonathan Holton than Adrian, but both played the game well while adding their own flair.
With improvements from Sagaba Konate and an inspiring effort this summer from Culver, the Mountaineers could have a much-improved interior defense. Culver possesses the same attribute that made Konate so fun to watch as a freshman: bounce-ability. Both Culver and Konate are leapers, and with the former’s versatility, Huggins could play them in the front court together.
Culver expects to be in Morgantown in June, maybe then we’ll find out in what capacity he’ll contribute.