MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Bob Huggins is already hopping on planes and skipping across the country to find the next batch of players to help West Virginia basketball both now and later.
"Brother," Huggins said Tuesday, "I've been on the road."
The Mountaineers were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament with Saturday's loss to Kentucky, and Huggins promptly jumped into the contact period that ended Tuesday. The evaluation period runs through the end of the month.
Blake Nash, a 6-foot guard at Williston (N.D.) State College, posted on his Twitter page Monday that Huggins was visiting him today. Huggins can't comment on any unsigned players.
"We want to get players who want to contribute," he said.
WVU will lose guards Joe Mazzulla, Jonnie West and Casey Mitchell and forwards Cam Thoroughman and John Flowers to graduation. The team has five underclassmen on scholarship on the roster and the NCAA allows a team to award 13 scholarships.
Guard Jabarie Hinds, guard/forward Aaron Brown, forwards Tommie McCune and Keaton Miles and center Pat Forsythe have already signed letters of intent. Junior college forward Dominique Rutledge is committed and can sign beginning next month.
Huggins could sign two players and perhaps more if any of the underclassmen leave or if junior forward Kevin Jones opts for the NBA.
The number of available scholarships is so large this year because of the departure of the graduating class and sophomore forward Dan Jennings, who quit in January, but also because last year's freshman class retained only Kevin Noreen among the four players.
Center David Nyarsuk wasn't cleared academically. Forward Darrious Curry was medically disqualified and guard Noah Cottrill was suspended in November for "conduct unbecoming of a Mountaineer" and later left school.
Huggins said he's had to deal with similar turnover before.