On Monday, Sept. 26, West Virginia and the rest of college basketball officially began their season.
The Mountaineers turnover a roster which went 16-17 last season, as only four players on this season’s roster were also featured on last season’s roster.
“The ball goes in, the ball actually goes in,” Huggins said of this team.
An area of emphasis when constructing this roster was to find better play on the inside. West Virginia struggled to generate any scoring in the post last season, and added Tre Mitchell, Mohamed Wague, and Jimmy Bell to try and fill that void. Huggins said the guys they now have are coachable and he hopes their eagerness to learn translates to on-court success.
“Our bigs are very coachable. They’re really great guys,” Huggins said. For whatever reason, big guys don’t look at the rim. They catch it, they generally look down or around… the only time they see the rim is on the way up. That’s why there’s so many misses around the rim.”
The Mountaineers also added to their depth at the guard position. West Virginia gained transfers Erik Stevenson and Joe Toussaint, and return Seth Wilson, Kobe Johnson, and Kedrian Johnson. Huggins said this team has the chance to be a lot better than last year, knowing there will be a lot of competition for playing time as well.
“I think we got a chance to be good. Not good but really good,” Huggins said. “We’ve got more guys I think who can score. We do have some guys with experience. We’ve got size, we haven’t had size for quite a while.”
A familiar face will be returning to the Mountaineers this season, as Emmitt Matthews who played at West Virginia from 2018-2021 transferred to Washington before transferring back to West Virginia this offseason. The 6-foot-7 forward has cleaned up his shooting mechanics and Huggins believes he will slowly become a leader of this team.
“He’s not slinging it from over his head. His mechanics are really good,” Huggins said of Matthews’ shooting. “He’s a much, much better offensive player I think than when he left. And he was a very good defender.”
As for who will play, Huggins said it is up to how his team competes. Huggins said his team is going to be versatile and they know they are going to compete to see the floor.
“I think we can be really versatile. We can look at film from other people and maybe be able to do a better job of attacking them because we can do it in a multitude of ways. This is the most depth we’ve had in a long, long time. They get along. There’s no bickering or bitterness or anything like that. They all understand they have to compete for a position,” Huggins said. “I got no complaints at this point.”