New Options For WVU's Last Basketball Scholarship
A pair of transfers targeted by West Virginia have moved on from the Mountaineers with Carlik Jones committing to Louisville and Jamarius Burton cutting his list to a top five that does not include WVU. As the transfer market begins to dry up, Bob Huggins and staff will have to move quickly to add a high-level option to fill the scholarship vacated by Brandon Knapper.
The ability to add a player this late in the process is valuable for the Mountaineers and some new names, as well as a pair of old ones could emerge as options to claim that 13th scholarship.
Luther Muhammad-SG, Ohio State
West Virginia fans may remember Muhammad this past season’s matchup with the Buckeyes but his history with the Mountaineers goes further than that game. WVU was actually a favorite to land the 6’4” guard when he was coming out of Hudson Catholic in Jersey City, New Jersey in the class of 2018.
Out of a top five that included the Mountaineers, Ohio State, Virginia, Xavier, and St. John’s, Muhammad ultimately headed to Columbus where he averaged 7.3 points per game to go with 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 36.1% from three over two years.
Despite starting 56 out of 64 career games, he has decided to move on from the program and will have to sit out the 2020-21 season as a traditional transfer. He will have two years of eligibility remaining but does have a redshirt season available.
During his two seasons at Ohio State, Muhammad emerged as one of the nation’s best defenders, using elite athleticism and physicality to shut down some of the Big 10’s best players. This could be the exact kind of player Bob Huggins is looking to add to his team.
West Virginia already has a connection to Muhammad through his high school recruiting process and in his time at Ohio State, he developed into the ideal prototype for a Bob Huggins player. This is a name to watch out for.
Darius Perry-PG, Louisville
If West Virginia is looking for a graduate transfer that can run the point and knock down three-pointers, Perry may be the best available option. He played in 31 games last season for the Cardinals, starting 26 and averaging 5.2 points and 2.5 assists per game while shooting 38.9% from behind the arc.
The Marietta, Georgia native has also been touted for his defensive abilities in addition to an elite level of athleticism. Standing just 6’2”, he took home the crown in Louisville’s team dunk contest at its “Louisville Live” season opening event.
Perry may not be the most exciting addition for the Mountaineers but you can never go wrong with a high-level defender who can knock down open shots and handle the ball on the offensive end. A pick up like this would add a veteran ball handler that would allow scoring guards like Deuce McBride and the incoming Kedrian Johnson to play off the point and focus on their abilities to put the ball in the basket.
Seny Ndiaye-C, Huntington Prep
Ndiaye has been a bit of a mystery throughout his recruiting process, with his only reported scholarship offer coming from West Virginia. A teammate of Isaiah Cottrell at Huntington Prep, he has been on campus in Morgantown several times and has appeared to pique the interest of the coaching staff.
Little can be found on Ndiaye outside of a few highlight videos that show a highly athletic near seven-footer with an uncanny skill to time block attempts and the ability to elevate and dunk in traffic. Most agree that his talents are extremely raw and a redshirt year, much like what West Virginia has done with Lamont West and Jalen Bridges, would allow the rail-thin big man to gain some much-needed weight and develop his offensive game while going up against elite post players like Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver in practice.
Ndiaye has long been seen as a fall-back option for the Mountaineers if a scenario like this one were to arise. If West Virginia does not land a player that can make a major impact on the court, this may just be the direction the coaching staff goes in.
A 6’11” big man with raw ability and elite athleticism is not a bad thing to have in your back pocket at the Division I level.
Subscribe at the top of the page to get all of the best WVU sports coverage from Mountaineer Maven.
Follow Mountaineer Maven on Twitter-@SI_WVU
Find Daniel Woods on Twitter-@DanielWoodsWV