Analysis: A Closer Look at West Virginia basketball commit Joseph Yesufu

Ed Zurga/GettyImages

On Sunday night, West Virginia basketball added another wing to the roster currently undergoing a rebuild under new coach Darian DeVries -- and this newest addition is a familiar face to both DeVries and the Big 12 Conference.

On3 Sports learned on Sunday that Washington State transfer guard Joseph Yesufu will be joining the WVU roster. Yesufu reunites with a former coach in DeVries, as he spent a two-year stint at Drake to begin his collegiate career.

Unrated as a high school prospect, he saw significant playing time before injury midseason derailed his freshman season at Drake. He averaged 12.8 points, 1.8 assists and 1.8 rebounds per game as sophomore for the Bulldogs, earning Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) Sixth Man of the Year honors for his impressive play off the bench for most of the season.

He would earn the starting nod from DeVries during the final seven-game stretch of the season, including four post-season contests. Over the final nine games of the season, Yesufu managed 23.2 points per game.

He transferred to Kansas following his time in DeVries' program, playing a small but significant role with the Jayhawks and earning a national championship with the program in 2021-22. Yesufu saw action in 69 games over two seasons with Kansas, averaging 3.1 points over 11 minutes per game during the stint.

From there he moved to Washington State where he planned to finish his career, before the season was derailed by injury just six games into the campaign. He earned a medical redshirt to preserve a season of eligibility, and decided to hit the portal once more. He averaged 6.1 points per game in his six appearances, starting each one.

On film, Yesufu is a strong spot shooter with a knack for establishing a rhythm from long range when open opportunities present themselves. He also possesses the ability to use dribble penetration to create scoring opportunities both at the rim and in mid-range.

The biggest potential downsides of Yesufu is his durability and lack of proven game experience while fulfilling a major roster role over the past three years. Yesufu has seen two of his five collegiate seasons thus far cut short by an injury.

Since his brilliant sophomore season at Drake, Yesufu has not been relied upon to fill a major role on a roster like he will likely be expected to handle for WVU. His role at Kansas was a minor one and did not require him to step up like he may need to in Morgantown, and his season at Washington State where he was set to be a season-long starter ended abruptly early into the campaign. If depth becomes an issue and he is called upon as a starter, he has just 16 starts in his 119 game career.

But Washington State coach Kyle Smith had high praise for Yesufu at Pac-12 media days last year, describing his ability to score from the perimeter as something the program "needed" and comparing him to NBA All-Star Isaiah Thomas and multi-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion Nate Robinson.

"He's an explosive combo (guard)," Smith said. "Right now, he'll probably be at the point for us. But he can really guard the ball, he can really shoot it, and he can really get it going scoring-wise."

At that same media day event, Yesufu himself expected to be playing the best ball of his career headed into his final season -- though we'll likely never know exactly where he was as a player last winter with the limited sample size of play before his injury.