IRVING, Texas — West Virginia, its roster retooled following a 13-19 season, was picked seventh by coaches in the Big 12 preseason basketball poll.
Kansas and Oklahoma State were voted preseason co-champs, each receiving five first-place votes from the league’s 10 coaches.
West Virginia finished 6-12 in conference play last season before losing to Texas Tech in the first round of the Big 12 Tournament. Bob Huggins figures to have a reconstituted rotation after losing three seniors and five undergraduate transfers, but two players from this year’s six-man signing class may not be eligible this season. Freshman power Elijah Macon apparently is going the partial qualifier route, and junior forward Jonathan Holton could be forced to redshirt as he navigates NCAA academic hurdles.
Top returnees for the Mountaineers include sophomore shooting guards Eron Harris (9.8 points, 2.3 rebounds) and Terry Henderson (8.0 points, 2.4 rebounds), who started 17 and 11 games respectively as freshmen. Point guards Juwan Staten (7.6 points, 3.1 assists) and Gary Browne (5.6 points, 1.5 assists) are seeking bounce-back seasons, while 18-game starter Kevin Noreen (3.0 points, 4.4 rebounds) is the only returning big man with experience.
Huggins will need immediate contributions from 6-foot-9 freshman power forward Devin Williams and lanky perimeter gunners Rémi Dibo and Nathan Adrian.
The complete coaches’ voting released Thursday:
1. tie-Kansas (5) 77
1. tie-Oklahoma State (5) 77
3. Baylor 63
4. Iowa State 56
5. tie-Kansas State 43
5. tie-Oklahoma 43
7. West Virginia 35
8. Texas 30
9. Texas Tech 14
10. TCU 12