West Virginia Season Preview

2011-2012 Projected Starting Lineup

PG Jabarie Hinds, freshman

Mr.Doye/Flickr


SG Darryl “Truck” Bryant, senior
SF Kevin Jones, senior
PF Kevin Noreen, freshman
C Deniz Kilicli, junior

Key reserves: Tommie McCune, freshman; Dominique Rutledge, junior; Gary Browne, freshman; Keaton Miles, freshman; Pat Forsythe, freshman

jgrove/Flickr

Bob Huggins has to make up for the majority of the team from last season. Casey Mitchell, John Flowers, Joe Mazzulla, Cam Thoroughman all graduated; Dalton Pepper transferred.

However, the Mountaineers return Truck Bryant, Kevin Jones, and Deniz Kilicli – all starters from last year’s 21-win team.

Bryant will be joined in the backcourt by freshman Jabarie Hinds. Hinds is a scoring threat, which will help if Bryant’s shooting doesn’t improve.

But West Virginia’s top scorer is Kevin Jones. Jones had a disappointing season as a junior, but I think he can be one of the top players in the conference now that he will get more touches, with Mitchell

subasketball/Flickr

graduating.

Tommie McCune, a 6-foot-8 freshman is one of Huggins’ top recruits, but he might be limited for minutes behind Jones.

If Bryant’s shooting doesn’t improve and Jones’ has another so-so season, West Virginia will be lucky if it makes it to the middle of the pack.

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Preseason All-Big East

Jeremy Lamb, UConn

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 11.1
RPG: 4.6
APG: 1.6

Lamb is also my preseason Big East Player of the Year. He came on late last season and provided that extra scoring option alongside Kemba Walker, which was needed for the eventual national champions. Lamb is a top NBA prospect entering his sophomore campaign. He is a lanky 6-foot-5 with a deadly stroke and moves extremely well without the ball. Lamb can also able to create for himself by getting to the rim. With an incredible wingspan that stretches out over seven feet Lamb is also a good rebounder and underrated defender.

Kris Joseph, Syracuse

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 14.4
RPG: 5.0
APG: 2.1

Joseph could have left for the NBA this summer and probably would have been a first-round pick. But he decided instead to return for his senior season in hopes of winning a national title. Last season Joseph was asked to fill the role of Wesley Johnson and he did a nice job once he began to play his own game. Joseph is a great athlete. He’s quick and is hard to stop once he penetrates the lane. He’s also versatile defender. Jump shot still needs work, but overall it seems Joseph improves each year.

Maalik Wayns, Villanova

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 13.8
RPG: 2.8
APG: 4.5

Scottie Reynolds and Corey Fisher are both gone. Villanova’s offense this season will go through junior point guard Maalik Wayns. He’s the Wildcats top scoring threat and he’s a good one. He came on later in the season, averaging over 20 in Villanova’s last four Big East games. He is one of the quickest players in the Big East. Despite his 6-foot-1 stature, Wayns has no problem getting into the lane and scoring over bigger opponents. His shot needs to improve and Wayns needs to continue to cut down on the turnovers.

Ashton Gibbs, Pittsburgh

2010-2011 stats
PPG: 16.8
RPG: 2.3
APG: 2.8

Gibbs tested the waters of the NBA Draft this summer, but decided to return to Pitt. Good news for head coach Jamie Dixon, he retains one of the conference’s best three-point shooters. Gibbs knocked down a remarkable 49 percent of his threes last season. Gibbs has a pure stroke from deep. He can come off the dribble or catch and shoot. Gibbs is steady with the ball and rarely turns it over. With only two returning starters this season for the Panthers, Gibbs will have to step up his game, not just his scoring.

Tim Abromaitis, Notre Dame

2010-2011
PPG: 15.4
RPG: 6.1
APG: 1.9

Like Gibbs, Abromaitis is another great shooter from deep. Abromaitis knocked down almost 43 percent of his three-point attempts last season. Although he known to stretch the defense with his shooting, the 6-foot-8 senior, is not a bad scoring threat inside. He uses an array of shot fakes and ball fakes to get his defender off balance and then beats them with mid-range jumper or finishes at the basket. Overall, he’s a complete player offensively.

Honorable mention: Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette; Peyton Siva, Louisville; Yancy Gates, Cincinnati; Kevin Jones, West Virginia