Potential Transfer Targets For WVU Basketball
With the transfer of Brandon Knapper, the West Virginia men’s basketball team has an additional scholarship available to add to the 2020 recruiting class that already includes high schoolers Isaiah Cottrell and Taj Thweatt, as well as junior college standout Kedrian Johnson.
This late in the recruiting process, it would be difficult to find another freshman to bring on but the transfer market is just beginning to open up. According to several reports, Bob Huggins is taking advantage of that and getting in contact with some of the top transfers available.
It appears that the Mountaineers are willing to take both a traditional transfer who will sit out or a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility. West Virginia could look to add at the point guard position made thinner by Knapper’s transfer or pick up a high-potential big man to pair alongside Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver in the front court.
Here are six available transfers you could see the Mountaineers add before next season.
Carlik Jones-PG, Radford
It has already been reported that West Virginia is in on Jones who scored an even 20.0 points per game to go with 5.5 assists per game last season. Playing at Radford for former West Virginia assistant Mike Jones, he was named Big South Conference player of the year as a redshirt junior.
Jones struggled from three-point range early in his career but improved to shoot 40.9 percent from deep last season. The ability to pass the ball, paired with Jones’ high-scoring abilities, make him a prime target for the Mountaineers to add this offseason.
Bryce Aiken-PG, Harvard
Aiken is considered one of the best transfers available after a strong first three seasons at Harvard where the former top 100 recruit averaged 22.2 points per game as a junior in 2018-19. However, he played just seven games this past season due to a foot injury and is looking to move on to a new program.
West Virginia needs ball-handling and shooting in the backcourt and Aiken brings just that, hitting over 36 percent from behind the arc in each of his last two seasons for the Crimson. Adding a high-level point guard like Aiken could allow Deuce McBride to spend more time off the ball and bring a much-needed scoring punch from the perimeter.
Rich Kelly-PG, Quinnipiac
If Bob Huggins wants shooting at the point guard spot, he will get just that in Kelly who knocked down 39.7 percent of his triples in 2019-20 after burying 45.7 percent as a sophomore the year before. Additionally, he could bring a little more peace of mind for Mountaineer fans frustrated by the team’s struggles at the foul line, having shot 89.1 percent at the charity stripe last season, including a 95.8 mark in conference play.
Those stellar percentages helped Kelly average a team-leading 16.7 points per game to go with his 4.5 assists as a redshirt junior. The Mountaineers need somebody that can hit big shots from the outside and Rich Kelly might just be the guy that can do it.
Jamarius Burton-CG, Wichita State
Burton could be an option if the coaching staff wants to add a high-potential guard for the future. Standing 6’4”, he has great positional size to run both backcourt spots and has past production, averaging 10.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.4 assists as a sophomore for the Shockers.
He also showed considerable improvement from year one to year two, going from a 26.3 percent mark on three-pointers as a freshman to a 38.1 clip last season. A backcourt of McBride and Burton could be one of the Big 12’s best in 2021-22.
Joshua Morgan-C, Long Beach State
If you want to talk about potential, Morgan is your guy after earning Big West Conference Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman last season. At 6’11”, he swatted away 2.5 shots per game as a rookie while putting in 8.4 points on 62.2 percent shooting.
While it looks like Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver are going to be back next season, players of that caliber will always have opportunities at the next level. Morgan could sit out his transfer year and battle with those two every day in practice before being a major force in 2021-22.
Hayden Koval-C, Central Arkansas
Koval can be the exact kind of change of pace that West Virginia needs in the frontcourt. The seven-footer averaged 12.2 points per game last season with 31 made three-pointers and 3.1 blocks per game, showing a ton of versatility and potential.
Just like with Morgan, a year to develop for Koval could make him a gamechanger on both ends of the floor for West Virginia once he is eligible. If Bob Huggins wants to add a stretch big to the roster, he’s just the guy to bring in.