Head Coach: Bob Huggins
2014-15 Record: 4-0
2013-14 Results: 17-16, 9-9 in Big 12, NIT First Round
Key Losses: Eron Harris (17.2 PPG, 42.2% from three), Terry Henderson (11.7 PPG)
The main question for Coach Bob Huggins this season is finding out how his team is going to gel. Usually known for making the NCAA Tournament, West Virginia came into the 2014-15 season with more newcomers than returning players after ending last season with an NIT appearance. The Mountaineers saw two of their main scorers from a year ago transfer to different schools: Guard Eron Harris, who was an extremely effective three-point shooter, left for Michigan State, while Terry Henderson, another guard, left for NC State.
Huggins has his troops responding well from the loss of Harris and Henderson as WVU is off to a 4-0 start, including 2 wins in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off. The Mountaineers took care of business against Monmouth and Lafayette, despite poor shooting performances before heading to Puerto Rico. In the first round against George Mason, senior Jonathon Holton and sophomore Devin Williams each scored 16 points in the 91-65 victory. In the second round, it was more of a battle against Boston College, but despite being down 11 at halftime, WVU prevailed 70-66 behind senior Juwan Staten's 15 points.
Huggins has his team playing at an extremely fast level, averaging 70.3 field goal attempts per game which ranks sixth in the country. Among teams that have played 4 games, WVU has attempted the most field goals in the nation, including 81 shots against Lafayette and 72 against George Mason. Look for them to get up as many shots as they can.
#3 Juwan Staten, Senior, Guard, (6-1, 190): Leading scorer from last year averaging 18.1 PPG while also pulling down 5.6 RPG and dishing out 5.8 APG. Staten was a member of the all-conference team while also earning a spot on the all-defensive team last season. Huggins calls him one of the best guards in the Big 12 and in the nation as he earned Big 12 preseason Player of the Year. In the first four games of the season, he is averaging 14.5 PPG with 4.5 APG. Staten is averaging 14 PPG in the first two games of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off while shooting a combined 12-25.
#5 Devin Williams, Sophomore, Forward, (6-9, 255): Leading rebounder from last season averaging 7.2 per game while also scoring 8.4 PPG as a freshman. Williams will anchor the front court, and if he can be more consistent, Huggins feels that he has the ability to be a very special player. In four games, Williams is the team's leading scorer and rebounder averaging 15.3 PPG and 9.8 RPG. He has already recorded three double-doubles this season , including a 15-point, 15-rebound performance against Monmouth. Williams is averaging 15.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG in the first two games of the tournament.
# 1 Jonathon Holton, Junior, Forward, (6-7, 220): A JUCO transfer who also played at URI as a freshman where he averaged 10.2 PPG. He will give help at the wing position as he adds much needed athleticism. Holton has been a consistent scorer so far this season, averaging 11.0 PPG while also pulling down 8.5 RPG. He has fit in well for the Mountaineers as he has been the leading scorer in two games this season, including an 18 point performance against Lafayette. Holton is averaging 12 PPG on 10-15 shooting in the tournament thus far.
#2 Jevon Carter, Freshman, Guard, (6-2, 185): A three-star recruit according to ESPN, he has been the team's 6th man in the first four games of the season averaging 21.0 minutes per game off the bench. Carter is another combo guard who adds speed to both sides of the ball. He is averaging 7.5 PPG this season along with 2.0 APG and 2.0 steals per game. Carter played a huge role in the semi-final victory over Boston College, scoring 15 points on 4-5 shooting, including 2-3 from three.
#4 Daxter Miles Jr., Freshman, Guard, (6-3, 185): Another freshman guard who has found his way into the starting lineup in each game this season. Although Miles adds speed like Carter, he is more of a shooter but has not been able to translate his stroke to the college level. Miles is averaging 5.8 PPG and 3.5 RPG in over 20 MPG, but is only shooting 28.6% from the field and 26.7% from three. He added a solid performance in the victory over Boston College, scoring 10 points on 4-7 shooting, including 2-4 from three.
West Virginia is coached by a familiar face to Husky fans, Bob Huggins, who is in his 8th year with the team where he is 154-91. He made the NCAA Tournament in his first five seasons with WVU, including a Final Four appearance in the 2009-10 season. Weirdly enough, since WVU left the Big East for the Big 12, they have not made the NCAA Tournament (huh.).
Before WVU, Huggins spent one year at Kansas State where he went 23-12, but left for his Alma Mater as soon as the coaching job opened up. Before Kansas State, the 61 year old spent 16 years at Cincinnati where he went 398-128, including 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances before he was forced out. In 1991-92, he reached his first ever Final Four with Cincinnati. Overall, Huggins is 743-303 as a head coach.