Ranking WVU Basketball's Biggest Recruiting Busts
West Virginia has had a rich history of success, but through all of the highs there have been some lows as well. Today, we look at the five biggest recruiting busts over the last ten plus years.
5. SG Dalton Pepper (2009)
The all-time leading scorer at Pennsbury high school in Pennsylvania had a lot to live up to early in his career. The sharp shooter found it difficult to cement himself into a starting role and eventually transferred to Temple for his last two years of eligibility.
During his time at West Virginia, he only averaged 3.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 10.1 minutes per game, compared to averaging 10.4 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 25 minutes per game at Temple.
4. PF Kevin Noreen (2010)
This guy was suppose to be the next Kevin Pittsnogle, but man, was that no where near the case. He was named Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota and also surpassed the 4,000-point mark for his high school career - a feat that is rarely accomplished.
Noreen was a part of the team that transitioned into the Big 12 that had very little success. He spent his first two years of his career in the Big East, entering the team right after the Final Four run.
3. PG Noah Cottrill (2010)
Expectations for the native West Virginian were through the roof coming into the 2010 season, but withdrew from classes halfway through his freshman season. He was suspended by Bob Huggins in October for conduct "unbecoming of a Mountaineer".
He was rated as the No. 2 player in the state and 68th nationally. Not only was Cottrill expected to come in and become an immediate impact player, but to potentially be the guy who could help carry the Mountaineers back to another Final Four.
2. PG Jabarie Hinds (2011)
Hinds was expected to be the next great Mountaineer from New York, coming from the same high school as Kevin Jones, but unfortunately, things didn't pan out. He averaged 7.4 points per game and shot 38% from the floor, but struggled to really create offense. He ended up transferring to UMass where he would finish his collegiate career.
What made matters even worse is that if Hinds didn't choose West Virginia, they would have ended up with Ryan Boatright, who went on to be an elite scorer at UConn. To add more salt to the wound, he also won a national championship with the Huskies in 2014.
1. SF Esa Ahmad (2015)
The amount of hype surrounding Esa Ahmad coming to Morgantown was unreal. Many thought he could be Bob Huggins first legit NBA-caliber player since returning to West Virginia. He showed flashes early in his career that he could be that type of player, but he often disappeared, especially when the team needed him most. During the hot start of the 2017-18 season, Ahmad missed the first half of the season due to "failing to meet NCAA eligibility requirements".
Once Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. departed, it was expected that it would be Ahmad's team and his year to finally breakthrough as a star in the Big 12. However, quite the opposite happened. He once again, found himself in Huggins' doghouse and was dismissed from the team for a violation of the athletic department's policies.
There's no question Ahmad had the talent and the athletic ability to be not only a star for West Virginia, but a solid role player in the NBA, if not more.
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