Welcome to “Second Guess” Tuesday.
April showers bring … well, rain.
- Where is the Mad Hatter?
That’s the only entity missing from the current state of college basketball. The game has stepped through the looking glass, thanks to the utter mayhem the NCAA has created with the controversial handling of the transfer portal.
It has turned college basketball into an “all skate, everybody skate” scenario, featuring players who too often are acting like carpetbaggers. All that matters are the greener pastures. Forget loyalty. Forget teammates. Forget values.
The transfer portal has allowed the “me generation” to take over college basketball.
Just look right here in the Mountain State at what is happening at West Virginia University and Marshall University.
The Mountaineers are in a state of flux, as two players have departed and three others are in limbo. Backup point guard Jordan McCabe already has transferred to UNLV, while small forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. entered the transfer portal but hasn’t committed to another school.
Then there are Deuce McBride, Sean McNeil and Taz Sherman. All three guards have declared for 2021 NBA Draft evaluations, which means any or all of the trio could return to WVU.
But veteran coach Bob Huggins isn’t exactly wringing his hands and crying “woe is me.” Just the opposite. Huggins is being proactive.
So far, WVU has signed 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward Dimon Carrigan, who played at FIU for two seasons, and 6-1, 180-pound point guard Malik Curry, who started for Old Dominion for two seasons.
Reaching out for players from Conference USA teams? That will raise some eyebrows.
So will this.
Marshall defeated FIU and Carrigan twice on a road trip to Miami during the 2020-21. The Thundering Herd won the first game, 79-66. Carrigan came off the bench to score 11 points, grab seven rebounds and block two shots in 20 minutes of action.
In the second game, MU prevailed, 89-72, as Carrigan started, but scored only four points (1 for 3 field goals, 2 for 6 free throws) with 10 rebounds and one blocked shots.
Although Carrigan averaged 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots, Huggins sees him as a “rim protector.”
As for Curry, he didn’t play against Marshall during a two-game series in Norfolk, Virginia, due to COVID-19 concerns. The Thundering Herd lost the first game to ODU, 82-81, but defeated the Monarchs handily, 87-67, in the second game.
Curry led Old Dominion in scoring (15.7 points), steals (37) and assists (71).
Besides that pair, WVU is reportedly also interested in Monmouth product Melik Martin. After never averaging double figures, the 6-6 forward improved to 12.5 points and 5.7 rebounds as a senior last season.
Meanwhile at Marshall, coach Danny D’Antoni has lost three players — point guard Jarrod West to Louisville, 6-9, 335-pound center Iran Bennett to Eastern Kentucky and 6-8 Jannson Williams also to EKU.
So far, MU has been interested in four or five players in the portal, but hasn’t been successful at signing any. It seems most of the available players have their sights set on Power 5 conferences.
Now, here’s the irony.
D’Antoni offered Williams the opportunity to return for a sixth year at Marshall, but instead he opted for Eastern Kentucky. Well, guess what? Now, the Herd will be playing against Williams and Bennett during the 2021-22 season.
Marshall was scheduled to play the last game in the series in Richmond, Kentucky, during the 2020-21 campaign. But the game was postponed due to COVID-19 woes and moved to next season.
So, now, the game will be played under some very odd circumstances.
Welcome to Wonderland.
- Speaking of irony …
Remember former WVU tight end great Anthony Becht? Who doesn’t? The 6-6, 250-pound behemoth had 83 catches for 1,178 yards and 11 touchdowns during his 1996-99 Mountaineer career.
Then, he was a first-round selection in the NFL Draft by the New York Jets, teaming up with former MU quarterback Chad Pennington.
Well, now, Becht has a son, Rocco, who is a three-star quarterback prospect in Zephyrhills, Florida, near Tampa. The 6-1, 190-pound rising senior completed 101 of 189 passes for 1,550 yards and 18 touchdowns with seven interceptions last season. As a sophomore, Becht threw for 1,985 yards and 21 touchdowns.
So, he’s a WVU legacy, right?
As it turns out, Marshall, Ole Miss, Wake Forest and New Mexico offered Becht, but WVU didn’t, according to 247 Sports. What’s worse for Mountaineer fans, young Becht recently committed to Iowa State.
So, WVU might actually have to play against Becht in the Big 12.
I’m getting dizzy from shaking my head.