MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - During an offseason that seems to get longer the closer it moves to its conclusion, Bob Huggins has seen three players graduate and four more transfer from the 2012-13 roster.
Monday witnessed a new term for an eighth exit. Huggins revealed senior center Aaric Murray has "departed" the program after graduating in May, but failing to make it through the offseason program. Murray is eligible to play at any level this fall.
"We came to a mutual agreement that it would be in his best interest to finish his collegiate career somewhere else," Huggins said in a brief university statement.
Reached later, Huggins declined to elaborate, but maintained that the Mountaineers are properly situated to survive the loss of the 24-year-old Murray. He was third on the team in scoring last season (8.8 points per game) and led WVU in rebounding (5.9), blocks (47) and field-goal percentage (48.1).
"We signed six guys who are over 6-foot-7, so I think we're OK," Huggins said.
Only three - freshmen Nathan Adrian, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins - are on campus. Junior college transfers Jonathan Holton and Remi Dibo and freshman Elijah Macon have not arrived. Holton and Macon have eligibility issues to settle before they can enroll.
"Those three are going to be fine, I think," Huggins said.
Two years ago, the 6-10 Murray transferred to WVU from La Salle, where he averaged 12.2 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game as a freshman and then 15.1 points and 7.7 rebounds a year later. He attended a high school for "court referred" youths in Philadelphia after reported persistent truancy in middle school and two years in the eighth grade.
Upon arriving at WVU, Murray was arrested back home for marijuana possession. He also broke his hand during the season and had back problems that kept him from making progress on the court as he sat out as a transfer. Murray played 31 of 32 games last season, starting only 11 times and averaging 20 minutes. Huggins left Murray on campus when the Mountaineers played eventual national runner-up Michigan in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Huggins agreed to bring Murray back for the upcoming season and Murray at least seemed receptive to making the specific personal and basketball improvements he needed to warrant the gesture.