Here’s what’s truly weird about the WVU basketball offseason. The Mountaineers were a team this past season with no seniors … and ended up with five scholarships. Five!
WVU only had 11 scholarship players last season (and only nine who were eligible) because of the exodus last spring. That left Bob Huggins with a pair of scholarships, but only until Eron Harris and then Terry Henderson transferred and Remi Dibo decided to go back to France to play professionally to open up three more. In the spring, no less.
Five is a big number in recruiting and you really had to wonder how Huggins would hand them out — or if he would hand them out.
Honestly, what good would it do to bring in five freshmen when an expressly stated cause of the transfer epidemic is too many players in a class and/or at a position who won’t wait or work for their turn? Sign five and the numbers say you lose at least two within two years, right?
So I was the one who asked Huggins if he might, you know, pocket one or two rather than test the numbers that he hasn’t been able to beat. He doesn’t want to, and I can totally get that, even if I had to ask. This won’t make sense, because I just said five is a big number, but 13 is not a big number. Not when the players exist in the numbers they do and the competition is as fierce as it is for their services.
So what does Huggins do? Well, take a look at what he did with the five. Two went to incoming freshmen who signed in the fall. The distribution of the final three is really interesting: a three-year juco, a two-year juco and, though it hasn’t happened, possibly a one-year postgraduate player.
Why is that significant? If it happens that way, WVU has no more than four players in any class (the senior class, which is good news for a promising crop of 2015 possibilities, and the sophomore class) and has no more than three players at one position in a class. The latter deserves an explanation. WVU would have three forwards in the sophomore class, but Nate Adrian, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins aren’t all playing the same position.
The overcrowding doesn’t seem to exist.
Is it the fix? It’s obviously too soon to tell because so many things can happen before that cycle goes all the way around, but it at least puts WVU in a position it hasn’t been in for quite some time.
The problematic large classes of the past don’t seem to be part of the future.
“Ideally, that’s what you want,” Huggins said. “I don’t think you ever want a year with no scholarships and I don’t think you want a year with eight guys. The year we had (seven) guys, we had a slew of guys transfer. I don’t want that.”