The world of college athletics is constantly changing. If you are a soap opera fan, the current landscape is for you. Players are constantly on the move which means there is never a dull moment and for West Virginia’s Head Basketball Coach Bob Huggins, from March 13 through May 11 is a continual roll of the dice. “As the roster turns” — that is the life Huggins is currently living and he won’t be able to rest until just before Mother’s Day.
The on again, off again relationship with big man Jimmy Bell has been enough to keep Huggins up at night. Bell initially rediscovered his love for football and spent a few weeks in pads after Huggins and Mountaineer Head Coach Neal Brown agreed to let Bell test the gridiron waters. Once Bell had a chance to sow his pigskin oats, he would have a pow with Huggins and Brown to decide his future at the university. Two occurrences made Bell reach a decision before the conference. The Gold-Blue Spring Game didn’t go as well as planned, and Huggins added a big piece to his hoops puzzle to bring a total of four new additions. RaeQuan Battle transferred in from Montana State, joining Jesse Edwards, Kerr Kriisa and Omar Silverio. There are eight returners and that makes for a crowded locker room. Bell started all 34 games for Huggins last season but the numbers aren’t exactly what he or Huggins wanted. Bell averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. Sometimes things just don’t work out and a parting of ways is good for both parties.
Battle spent four years at Montana State averaging 17.7 points per game and a shade under 30 minutes a year ago.
Edwards comes from Syracuse and brings a strong presence. The 11 foot, 230 pound hoopster averaged 14.5 points per game and 10.3 rebounds.
Kriisa spent three years in Arizona before coming to Morgantown. He averaged just shy of double digits and 5.1 assists for the Wildcats. Kriisa is a true floor general which is essential when blending a deep and talented roster. He will be an assistant on the floor for Huggs this upcoming season.
Silverio comes from Manhattan where he spent four years in the Jaspers program. Silverio averaged 10.9 points and 3.3 rebounds last season.
Ironically, Silverio was a previous teammate of Mountaineer Jose Perez. Perez would have been a difference-maker last year but he was ruled ineligible by the NCAA. The year prior, Perez started 29 of 30 games and averaged 18.9 points, dished out 4.5 assists, and grabbed 3.2 rebounds at Manhattan.
If you compare this portal period to a movie, Huggins is the hero and he is about the ride off into the sunset. Barring any twists, this story should end with Hugs all smiles and that would mean more smiles for Mountaineer Nation.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!
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