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WVU’s grad transfers making their mark this season

After a strong 2020-2021 campaign, the West Virginia basketball roster was pretty much dismantled. Star guard Miles McBride, who averaged 15.9 points per game, declared for the NBA Draft and was selected by the New York Knicks. The Mountaineers also lost their most talented big man in Derek Culver, after he decided which lost them 14.3 points per game and 9.4 rebounds per game.

Along with the two big losses, forward Emmitt Matthews and guard Jordan McCabe transferred to different schools. Head coach Bob Huggins made sure those voids got filled, as he dipped into the transfer portal for more talent. 

Huggins brought in three graduate transfers from smaller conferences, starting with a rim protector in Dimon Carrigan from Florida International University.  Just days after getting Carrigan to commit, guard Malik Curry from Old Dominion announced his commitment to WVU. Lastly, Huggins was able to get another big man in Pauly Paulicap from DePaul. 

In the early stages of the 2021-2022 season, West Virginia has seen important minutes and key roles from these transfers. While the team from last year was good, they lacked a shot blocker. Dimon Carrigan has emerged as that guy, as he has registered 12 blocks so far this year.  Carrigan is also averaging 3.4 rebounds so far this season, so his presence has been helpful. 

Arguably the best addition to the roster so far has been guard Malik Curry. Curry averaged nearly 16 points per game last season for the Monarchs of Old Dominion, so he is a proven scorer. 

With a left-handed shot, Curry can get to the basket and finish at the rim nicely. There have been multiple times where Curry has shown his finishing ability with shots high off the glass and tough layups against multiple big men.  Through nine games, Curry is averaging 7.2 points with 1.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game. 

Rounding out the group of fifth year seniors in their first year at WVU, is Pauly Paulicap.  The six-foot-eight, 235-pound post presence has given WVU a little bit of everything.  

Paulicap is averaging 3.7 points per game and 3.2 rebounds per game. While Paulicap is by no means a dominant offensive player, he is probably the best finisher the Mountaineers have had at the forward position so far. Paulicap has also proven to be able to challenge shots, as he’s registered eight blocks, including a few big ones to excite the crowd. 

With a big home win against No. 15 Connecticut, the 8-1 Mountaineers are making a case for a spot in the national rankings. As WVU pushes through December and soon into Big 12 play, they will need to continue to see production from these three graduate transfers and it will be interesting to keep an eye on their development.

Photo by Dale Sparks, All Pro Photography

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