It’s been mere days since the Mountaineers closed out a disappointing season with a torrid loss to Coastal Carolina in the CBI, but the offseason shows mercy to no one. Just today, Forwards Lamont West and Andrew Gordon confirmed their intent to leave Morgantown by entering the transfer portal.
Of the two, West comes as a potentially big blow to West Virginia as the junior averaged a solid 11.1 points and 4.1 rebounds this season. Over the course of his career as a Mountaineer, West (at least in stretches) was a solid jump shooter who showed good ability running the floor as well as creating from the post. Gordon, a sophomore out of Ohio, was a reserve big who wasn’t a big contributor in the stat line but would have added some helpful depth to Bob Huggins’ squad which was already reeling from several high profile transfers and dismissals this season, including James “Beetle” Bolden, Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris.
Coming off a paltry 15 wins, inarguably one of the worst seasons in school history, West Virginia had renewed confidence looking forward thanks to a nucleus of promising young players headlined by Jordan McCabe, Emmit Matthews, Jr., and explosive big Derek Culver. Now Bob Huggins is tasked with filling five scholarship vacancies in preparation for next season, the labor pains of doing so slightly dulled by the excitement around incoming freshmen Miles McBride and dynamo McDonald’s All-American Oscar Tshiebwe.
In addition, West Virginia is still in good position for several talented JUCO players in Sean McNeil and Tajzmel Sherman and possible high school standouts Clarence Nadolny and Huggins legacy Kenyon Martin, Jr.
It’s certainly not the best news and adds further sting to a season everyone in Mountaineer nation is ready to disavow indefinitely. However, of the players that have weathered this year’s storm and stand convicted to return West Virginia to the ranks of college’s best next year, this can only further fan the flames under what could be a dramatic turn around for Mountaineer basketball. Whatever the case, we’re about to witness the most critical rebuild of Bob Huggins’ HOF career.