West Virginia Native Providing the Offensive Spark Bob Huggins Needs
West Virginia sophomore point guard Brandon Knapper hasn't been lighting it up night to night and isn't the Mountaineers best offensive threat, but he does provide the team with an added boost off the bench.
The team as a whole, has struggled to hit shots only shooting 43% on the season, which took a huge jump after the win over TCU on Tuesday. Starting point guard Jordan McCabe has himself in a sophomore slump, averaging only 3.1 points per game and shooting a measly 25% from the floor. Junior college transfers Taz Sherman (32%) and Sean McNeil (36%) are both still getting acclimated to the offense. Head coach Bob Huggins believes those two are about to get themselves going, stating that they've had to think and play, instead of just being reactionary to what happens in the game.
While McCabe struggles and McNeil and Sherman figure things out, West Virginia needs a shot in the arm from the bench. During the team's current three game winning streak, Knapper is averaging 7.6 points per game, while shooting 46% from the field and 43% from deep.
"Jordan [McCabe] starts. He goes out there and is a great leader and starts it off good, then me and Deuce [McBride] come off the bench with Taz [Sherman], Sean McNeil and Chase Harler and we just try to lift the team up," Knapper said following the win over TCU. "We're the energy guys. We know we can score the ball, but we want to do that on the defensive side too, so that's what we're going to continue to work at throughout the rest of the season."
Knapper is just one of many contributing pieces to the Mountaineers success. West Virginia has the depth to continue to rotate bodies throughout the entirety of a game and not have much of a drop off in production. When asked if the Mountaineers depth wears out opponents, Knapper responded, "Oh yeah, you could see it. Not a lot of guys are deep like us. We have 12-13 guys playing almost and most teams don't have that. We can tell that they get tired and we just have our guards running in and even our bigs run the floor and make their bigs tired, so it's good for us."
The Mountaineers may not have an elite scorer or go-to scorer for that matter, but it's guys like Knapper that understand their role and execute the gameplan that makes this team go.
West Virginia and Kansas State tip-off tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. in the "Little Apple".