Friday, October 21, 2016

As Season Ends So Does the Respect

As the 2014-2015 college basketball season comes to an end so does the respect for WVU.  Just like every year, immediately after the national champion is crowned college basketball analysts publish their “way to early” top 25 for the following season.

While teams such as Virginia, Kansas, Duke, and Kentucky are easy choices, coming up with a preseason top 25 this early is more about speculation and respect than anything else. With that said, the Mountaineer basketball team again finds itself on the outside looking in. Both CBS and ESPN’s college basketball predictions fail to include WVU in their top 25.

While many will shrug it off as simply propaganda for the typical power basketball schools, it is a slap in the face to a program that overachieved on a national stage. The Mountaineers ended the season 25-10 and ranked 18th in the final USA Today Coaches Poll. Further, this is a team that once reaching the Top 25 remained in the Polls for the entire season.

So why are the Mountaineers not getting any respect? Was it the loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16? Could it be the fact they are losing Gary Browne and Juwan Staten?  I can not fathom why this team is not ranked. Although the loss of two key leaders is usually a legitimate reason, that is simply not the case with this team.

The loss of Browne and Staten are significant beyond the box scores, but the duo combined for only 28% of the Mountaineers scoring last season. WVU will lose only one of their top 5 scorers, as Staten led team with 14.2 ppg while Browne averaged only 7.0 ppg.

The Mountaineers will return their leading rebounder Devin Williams, their leader in steals Jevon Carter, their leading 3 point shooter Jaysean Paige, and their leader in FG % Tarik Philip.

There is obviously no consideration given to the fact that WVU has three 2015 prospects that will very likely contribute next season. Teyvon Myers was the 2nd ranked JUCO shooting guard this past season and led the nation in scoring.

Esa Ahmad is a 4 star 6’7″ 210 lb power forward that will show a big presence inside, and 3 star 6’1″ 170 lb point guard James Bolden has the ability to contribute immediately.

While these prospects do not boast All-American honors, that is not who Coach Huggins (National Coach of the Year) recruits. Obviously these predictions should be taken with a grain of salt. But the fact remains, there is already a lack of respect for a team that should be very tough to beat next season.



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