WVU basketball: Departure of trio opens scholarships
MORGANTOWN - Bob Huggins was looking at a situation in which he'd promised scholarships to four players beginning next season when he only had three to give. That problem was solved Monday, though in an odd fashion as the West Virginia coach granted transfer requests to three sophomores.
The team announced guards Jabarie Hinds and Aaron Brown and forward Volodymyr Gerun "asked for their releases and plan to transfer" on the first day students were back in class after spring break.
Huggins told the Charleston Daily Mail he doesn't expect any other players to leave the program.
Gerun is a redshirt sophomore who arrived in the summer, but Hinds and Brown were part of the seven-player 2011 recruiting class that followed the team's 2010 Final Four appearance.
Hinds, Brown, Pat Forsythe and Tommie McCune have transferred.
Dominique Rutledge was a senior this past season and guard Gary Browne and forward Keaton Miles are still with the program.
"All I want to say is what I've said since they've been here, which is that they're great kids, which they are," Huggins said. "They're great kids and I wish them all well."
Hinds was a four-star, top-100 recruit out of New York's Mount Vernon High that gave Huggins forward Kevin Jones. Hinds slumped as a sophomore, though, and finished sixth in scoring despite ranking first in shot attempts and third in minutes.
After starting all 33 games as a freshman and averaging 7.4 points and 2.5 rebounds while shooting 41.9 percent from the floor and 32.1 percent from 3-point range, his scoring average stayed the same in 2012, his rebounds dropped to 1.8 per game and his shooting percentages slipped to 35.1 and 27.6.
The 5-foot-11 Hinds also came off the bench six times in 32 games, including the final five games.
Brown, a 6-5 native of Darby, Pa., was another part of the sophomore class who struggled. He played in 32 of 33 games and averaged 15.3 minutes as a freshman while averaging 4.2 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. He played in just 17 games with three starts this past season and averaged 6.2 minutes. He shot 27 percent from 3-point range.
In two seasons with Hinds and Brown, the Mountaineers had a 32-33 record. The Mountaineers were one of the last teams to receive an at-large berth to the 2011 NCAA tournament and missed the postseason in 2012 for the first time in 10 years.
The 6-10 Gerun played in seven games, one more than he was made to miss to start the season under a NCAA suspension. He was 3-for-13 from the floor and missed all six of his 3-point attempts.
WVU was set to lose just Rutledge, Deniz Kilicli and Matt Humphrey as part of the senior class, but had signed forwards Nathan Adrian, Elijah Macon, Brandon Watkins and Devin Williams in the 2013 recruiting class. Huggins now has two free scholarships to offer prospects, who can sign April 17, the start of the regular signing period.
Huggins said he won't sign two players just to reach the NCAA limit of 13 and that any additions would have to fit needs as the Mountaineers prepare for their second season in the Big 12.
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.