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Breaking down the newcomers to the 2019 West Virginia University basketball roster

This year is an extremely important one for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Coming off one of their worst seasons in school history, finishing with a 15-21 record and winning just four of their 18 Big 12 games, the team underperformed greatly last year. Things just never seemed right for from the start for the Mountaineers last season, and they got even worse when Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris were dismissed from the team in February. Despite losing these two key players and being a very young team, the Mountaineers still had enough overall talent that a 15 win season is just unacceptable. Prior to last season, West Virginia had won 20 plus games in four straight seasons and made the NCAA Tournament every year. This year West Virginia looks to get back to those winning ways with a roster that while still young, brings much more experience than they did last season. Today we take a look at breaking down the Mountaineers 2019 roster.

#15 F Jalen Bridges – 6’7 210 lbs, Fairmont WV, Fairmont Senior HS

Freshman Jalen Bridges out of Fairmont West Virginia was a big get for the Mountaineers this recruiting season. The lengthy forward was the number one recruit in the state of West Virginia for the 2020 class. A four-star recruit, Bridges was the 22nd overall small forward in his class as well. Bridges has a chance to turn into a special player for the Mountaineers in years to come. Bridges decided to redshirt this year, so we will not see him on the court at all this season.

#30 G Spencer Macke – 5’11 170 lbs, Fort Thomas KY, Silver Grove HS

Spencer Macke is one of the more intriguing newcomers to the 2019 Mountaineers roster. A preferred walk-on, Macke absolutely dominated in his senior year at Silver Grove High School, averaging 34.9 points and 15.8 rebounds. He may not see the court all to much this season, but Macke has a chance to develop and play a nice role in years to come.

#4 G Miles McBride – 6’2 196 lbs, Cincinnati Ohio,  Archbishop Moeller HS

Miles McBride is a 6’2 freshman guard out of Cincinnati Ohio. McBride, much like Macke, was a dominant high school player. In his junior and senior seasons, McBridge lead his team to back-to-back state titles, including a 29-0 season his senior year. This was even more remarkable because it was the first Ohio boys team to have a perfect season and win the state title in 24 years. McBride is the type of player Bob Huggins loves. He is tough, a good defender, relentless, and a winner. Look for McBride to make a real impact this season for West Virginia.

#34 F    Oscar Tshiebwe – 6’9 258 lbs, Herritage PA, Kennedy Catholic High School

Oscar Tshiebwe is by far the biggest newcomer on the 2019 Mountaineers roster. Not just in size, standing at 6’9, but in talent as well. Tshiebwe was the number one recruit in the state of Pennsylvania, and the number eight overall center in the entire 2019 class. Tshiebwe is just the second Mcdonald’s All-American to ever sign with the Mountaineers, and the highest-rated recruit they have ever gotten in the 247Sports composite era. Tshiebwe is going to be expected to play and make an impact early on in the WVU frontcourt. Tshiebwe has a chance to start as a freshman, and if the Mountaineers want to have a successful season, they need a big year out of No. 34.

#12 G Taz Sherman – 6’4 185 lbs, Missouri City Texas, Fort Bend Thurgood Marshall HS

Sherman transferred to WVU this season from Collin College, a small junior college in McKinley Texas. He averaged 25.9 points per game last season, and recorded eight games with 35 points or more. Sherman did not get the looks he expected coming out of high school and decided to go the junior college route rather than go to a Division II or Division III school. The 6’4 long guard is a shooter, something West Virginia desperately needs on their roster. Even if he does not play a ton, Sherman can be a valuable asset if he is able to come in and knock down some shots.

#22 G Sean McNeil – 6-3 207 lbs, Union KY, Cooper HS

McNeil is another transfer to WVU from junior college. He attended Sinclair Community College in Ohio last season. Even though it was a Division II junior college, McNeil dominated last year. He averaged 29.7 points per game, shot 43.1% from three-point range, and even scored 55 points in a single game, breaking the school record. Now the transition from a small Divison II junior college to a big-time Big 12 school will not be easy, but McNeil’s athletic ability will help him make the transition and possibly make an impact this season. 

#3 F Gabe Osabuohien – 6’7 235 lbs, Vancouver British Columbia, Burnaby South HS

Last but not least we get to Gabe Osabuohien, whose status for the 2019 season is still up in the air. Osabuohien started his college basketball career at Arkansas. In 54 games for the Razorbacks, he averaged just 2.4 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, but he did have 105 deflections and took 24 charges. In August, Arkansas dismissed Osabuohien from the program and he signed with the Mountaineers less than a week later. While his status is still unknown if he is deemed eligible, Osabuohien would be a nice addition to the roster. West Virginia has to be more physical as a team this season, and if they have Osabuohien on the roster he will help that in a big way.

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