The WVU basketball team was a Sweet 16 squad last season. In 2017-18, the Mountaineers are already considered an elite eight team.
The last time the Mountaineers made it to the Elite Eight was 2010, when the WVU basketball team made it all the way to the Final Four. That was a legendary team with Da’Sean Butler, John Flowers, Devin Ebanks, Wellington Smith and Truck Bryant leading Bob Huggins’ squad.
Coach Huggins has used everything in his power to build a similar team to that of the 2010 team. He may have found the proper pieces for this upcoming season. Huggins may not feel like the team is where it needs to be just yet. It’s far too early to determine where this team will go this year.
But one person already feels the WVU basketball team is a top 10 squad. And, it’s a national writer. It’s not some Morgantown fan boy.
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In the report Medcalf said, “Last season, the West Virginia Mountaineers forced turnovers on 27.6 percent of their opponents’ possessions. They neutralized more than one-quarter, on average, of an opposing team’s trips down the floor. That harassment won’t stop in 2017-18. Jevon Carter (13.5 PPG, 39 percent from the 3-point line), a candidate for Big 12 Player of the Year, tested the NBA waters but quickly announced his return to Morgantown. Esa Ahmad, Daxter Miles Jr. and a fleet of durable reserves will help West Virginia maintain its identity as a swarming unit that gobbles offensive boards like french fries and makes opponents feel like they’re trapped in a hurricane.”
The concerning thing about this upcoming WVU basketball team is that the losses outweigh the gains. Teyvon Myers, Tarik Phillip, Nathan Adrian and Elijah Macon have all moved on.
The Mountaineers will likely be without Esa Ahmad for half of the season because of a suspension. Ahmad will be a big part of the Mountaineers making a deep run to that Elite Eight position. He has the skills and athleticism to be one of the best players in the conference. He just hasn’t been consistent enough early in his career.
Medcalf’s story says the WVU basketball team does not have any key additions for the season. That isn’t necessarily true though. Freshman Brandon Knapper has been a long awaited addition. He had some seasoning at a prep school before coming onto the Mountaineers.
The key to the team will be senior leader Jevon Carter. He already has helped the WVU basketball team in more ways than most players do. He can be a true legend throughout this season.
For now, with football season still a week away, it’s way too early to be thinking about basketball. What’s good is that there is a lot to look forward to once the weather gets cold and there’s basketball in the air.