By Bob Hertzel
Times West Virginian
Rumors, rumors, rumors.
In this Internet era, rumors reside everywhere, not just in “ruming houses,” so to speak, and many of them are swirling around the West Virginia University basketball program.
The Mountaineers are in need of a point guard, with Joe Mazzulla gone and Truck Bryant showing himself to be better as the off guard, so what better place to begin that right here in West Virginia, where Mike Casazza of the Daily Mail in Charleston conjured up the ghost of last year’s hot recruit, Noah Cottrill.
“Consider the whispers Noah Cottrill has retreated to Michigan to be with his older brother and address the personal issues that forced his exit from WVU this past season, in order to get back with the team,” Casazza wrote. “If his return is no longer an impossibility and he is welcomed back, WVU has a shooter it really needs as well as another piece for what may be a fresh approach next season.”
While this would seem like a longshot, coach Bob Huggins has been known to be compassionate, and if Cottrill can convince him that his personal problems are behind him, Huggins might be willing to welcome him back, perhaps first as a walk-on.
Then came word out of Dayton, Ohio, that the Flyers’ point guard Juwan Statten, a prime recruit a year ago, is leaving that program because he didn’t feel it was the right fit.
Statten led the Atlantic 10 in assists but did not shoot well and was reportedly unhappy that he wasn’t given more freedom to freelance. Huggins, as anyone who has watched him knows, doesn’t have a whole lot of freelancing, but he is a player’s coach and does not hear many complaints about it.
The Dayton Daily News suggested that Statten might be interested in West Virginia.
WVU has a top point guard in this recruiting class in Jabarie Hinds, but it would be best if Huggins could break him in more slowly and have a player like Statten, who would not be eligible for a year, to work with and push him in his development.
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According to a Tweet from Da’Sean Butler, first reported online by WV Illustrated, he has been cleared to return to basketball and is looking forward to playing next season somewhere in the NBA.
It has been almost a year since he went down in the final minutes of the Final Four showdown with Duke in Indianapolis, tearing up his knee. The Mountaineer star was drafted in the second round by Miami despite surgery, but was cut due to injury when the team faced a roster problem.
“I think it’s likely that he could sign with somebody this season,” his agent, Chet Ervin of KMG Sports, said. “He has worked out for several teams within the last few weeks.”
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Tickets for the West Virginia University annual Gold-Blue spring football scrimmage on Friday, April 29, at 7 p.m. at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium are now available.
The game was played at night last year and was a huge success.
Tickets are available for $10 each and can be purchased online at WVUGAME.com or by calling 800-WVU GAME. WVU students will be admitted free with a valid ID. Stadium parking information will be released at a later date.
One fan who purchases his or her Gold-Blue game ticket online at WVUGAME.com by Friday, April 15, will be randomly selected to win a WVU Pro Combat helmet, like the one the Mountaineers wore in the victory over Pitt in the Backyard Brawl.
A portion of the proceeds from the Gold-Blue Game once again will benefit WVU Children’s Hospital. The Mountaineers have donated more than $600,000 to WVU Children’s Hospital during the past 26 years.
Email Bob Hertzel at firstname.lastname@example.org.