Chip Shots – Huggins hits portal gold again

Huggins hits portal gold again

by Jim Buzzerd

For the second time in as may weeks West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins has pulled a top player out of the transfer portal. The latest example comes in the form of a commitment from center Jesse Edwards, a Syracuse transfer who was in Morgantown over the weekend and pledged Sunday that he’ll play for the Mountaineers.

Last week WVU announced the addition of Estonian guard Kerr Kriisa who transferred from Arizona. This week Edwards comes aboard. Considered one of the top players in the portal, Edwards averaged 14.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots last season for the Orange.

A native of Netherlands, the 6-foot-11 Edwards was considered a project upon his arrival at Syracuse. His impact was minimal over his first two seasons with the Orange, the second of which was a year SU defeated West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. As a junior, Edwards took a big step forward, increasing his scoring average from 1.9 to 12 points and shooting better than 69 percent from the field. Edwards’ minutes also went up in a big way from nearly nine to 28 on average and he added 6.5 boards and 2.8 blocks on average.

By many accounts Huggins is not finished mining the portal. WVU hosted former Iowa State Caleb Grill Sunday and Monday. The Mountaineers again were one of the first schools to contact him along with Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texas Tech, Missouri, Colorado, Virginia Tech and Wichita State among many other programs. He visited Missouri prior to his trip to Morgantown.

While Huggins and his Hall of Fame status seems to be working for him as he fully embraces the reality that is the transfer portal, Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting Jay Kuntz has been singled out as the engineer driving the portal train. Kuntz has been with the basketball program for 14 years. A native of Wallingford, Connecticut, Kuntz graduated from WVU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in multidisciplinary studies and earned a master’s degree from WVU in athletic coaching education in 2014. He is in charge of NIL and the transfer portal.

One note on the Gold-Blue game this Saturday. A Monday press release was vague as to streaming and radio availability. Saying only, “additional updated information on the game, radio broadcast and streaming telecast will be released this week.”