With the West Virginia men’s basketball team set to hold their annual Gold-Blue scrimmage this Friday at 7 p.m. there is excitement in the air surrounding the Coliseum and the men’s basketball team as a whole.
A couple players that will lead this year’s Mountaineer squad include a pair of senior guards who will be slotted in the starting lineup on the regular this season in Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman.
The pair of shooters will fit well for this season as the Mountaineers are mainly seen as a guard heavy team with less inside presence as in previous years.
WVU HC Bob Huggins explained the concept of having a guard heavy offense this season.
“We’re going to probably end up playing four-out,” Huggins said. “Those guys as soon as they see a crack they’re going to shoot it and we want them to shoot it so I don’t think we need a traditional point guard, we’ve got a lot of guys that can handle the ball and they’re getting better too with their ball skill.”
The duo has played solid together throughout their time in the gold and blue after transferring to West Virginia in 2019 and coming onto the scene in bigger roles in 2020. Just this past winter, Sherman averaged 13.4 points and McNeil had 12.2.
The pair of junior college player’s have taken unconventional routes to Morgantown as both attended other colleges prior to West Virginia. McNeil took the route of community college as the Union, Kentucky native played at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, where he led the nation in scoring with 29.7 points per game.
While Sherman hails from Missouri City, Texas, the guard attended Collin College in McKinney, Texas, in the 2018-19 season when he averaged 25.9 points per game. That propelled him to place fourth in most points overall in the NJCAA Division I conference. Both McNeil and Sherman were able to earn National Junior College Athletic Association NJCAA DI first and second-team All-American honors in their time at Junior College.
The pair of guards first season on campus in 2019 saw McNeil play in 28 of the 31 total West Virginia games. While playing in around 14.9 minutes per matchup, the transfer led the team with 29 3-pointers seeming to find a nice stroke from beyond the three-point line.
The Kentucky native netted a season high 13 points at Texas that season and always seemed to be a threat at the free throw line sinking 81 percent of his opportunities. The kid was also able to have a successful day against Pitt knocking down 11 points total and going 3-of-5 from the floor.
Sherman’s first year with the Mountaineers saw the guard start in all 31 games for Bob Huggins and starting five while notching double digit total points in five of those matchups. The Texan totaled his season high 20 points which entailed five three-pointers at Baylor that season and always seemed to be a scoring threat around the perimeter.
This past season during the COVID-19 pandemic, Sherman and McNeil both progressed playing alongside each other as the latter started in 23-of-29 tip-offs and led the Mountaineers on the season with 69 3-point field goals. He also was dominant enough on the offensive end to reach double figures in 18 games.
Sherman only began the night on the court in in six of 28 matchups last year but that did not define the way he played as the guard averaged 13.4 points per game the entire season and finished in double digit scoring in 21 games.
Whatever a Mountaineer starting five may turn out to look like come actual game time on Nov. 9 against Oakland, Bob Huggins will be looking to get both of his leader guards extended playing time on the court come tip-off.
(Top Photo: Dale Sparks)