It’s starting to be that time of year again, the Mountaineers take the hardwood today for their first practice. West Virginia lost some key players last season like Big XII 6th man of the year Tarik Phillip, hometown native Nathan Adrian, Elijah Macon, Brandon Watkins, and fan favorite Teyvon Myers. West Virginia will also be without a key contributor due to the Esa Ahmad suspension. He will miss approximately the first half of the season due to “failing to meet NCAA eligibility standards.” So, what do us fans expect from this team that has taken some significant blows in the off-season and who will fill in spots?
Who will fill Esa Ahmad’s place?
That is a question every Mountaineer basketball fan has asked since the confirmation of Esa’s suspension. The name I hear the most is Lamont West. But to me, he was going to start anyway. So you may ask yourself, who else could see the floor? A few candidates would be:
Jr. F D’Angelo Hunter who averaged 15.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, and 2.2 APG at Navarro College.
Maciej Bender who we saw very little of last season, will earn more minutes as the season progresses.
Who will run the backcourt?
There are the obvious players like Jevon Carter, Daxter Miles Jr, and sharp shooter Beetle Bolden. But what do we expect from the younger guards? Will they provide the needed depth after Fr. Brandon Knapper’s season ending knee injury and the loss of Tarik Phillip and Teyvon Myers? With that being said, who will be the biggest surprise off the bench for West Virginia?
SG Teddy Allen: When it comes to scoring, don’t sleep on this guy. Allen averaged 31 PPG, a whopping 13 RPG, and 3 SPG. Allen and Bolden will fill the offensive needs, while Carter and Miles provide elite defense.
Will offensive rebounding continue success?
With the loss of Nathan Adrian and Elijah Macon, questions surround the big men on whether or not they can continue the success of offensive rebounding.
Sagaba Konate: Sags had a big freshman campaign, very fun to watch, especially on the blocks he made. Konate only put up 2.8 RPG last season, but his biggest priority was defense. This year he will have to do more, which he will. Look out for Konate to snag offensive boards left and right.
Maciej Bender: Bender? Really? Yes. Bender will have major production on offensive rebounding this season. We saw very little of Bender last year, but that will be different this year. Keep an eye on him.
So, what should you expect from West Virginia this season? Wins. This team will win, especially with the loaded offense in Bolden and Teddy Allen – adding Miles Jr. and Carter as well. Mountaineer fans, another fun year awaits!