Add Turkish import Deniz Kilicli to the mix with a full year to prepare after missing 20 games this year and you have a team that figures to rebound and score up front.
There was, too, late in the year a broken foot suffered by Truck Bryant, the starting point guard, and Joe Mazzulla needing nearly three months to reach full strength and use of his dominant left arm to reach his top level of play.
“We thought we had a chance in the beginning of the year to be a good basketball team,” Huggins said. “We fought through a lot of things. Deniz sitting for 22 games. I think if Deniz plays the whole year, he's a totally different player. That made it difficult trying to get him involved 'cause he is a guy who can score the ball for us.
“You know, Joe not being able to really play for two-thirds of the year, we put him in games, but he couldn't really play. Then Truck going down. I think through all of it, our guys have done a great job of perservering and working their way through things. They're good guys. They're guys who put the team and the welfare of others before themselves. That's a great character to have.”
It’s also a great character to carry over into next year. With Jones, Ebanks, Flowers, Kilicli, Danny Jennings and Cam Thoroughman back up front and Bryant and Mazzulla at the point, WVU is talented and good.
Add in Casey Mitchell and Jonnie West back for their senior years at shooting guard, either possibly starting, and an improved Dalton Pepper, plus a strong group of recruits and the Mountaineers remain a force in the Big East for the coming season.
E-mail Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.