MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Albany guard Joe Cremo, an All-America East selection this season after averaging 17.8 points and 3.8 assists, is receiving interest on the grad transfer market from West Virginia and several other major programs.
Arizona, Louisville, Ohio State and Wichita State also reportedly have contacted the 6-foot-4 Cremo during the 72 hours since he announced plans to leave Albany. He also tells ESPN he has heard from UConn, Cincinnati, Creighton and Texas Tech, another Big 12 program that like WVU must replace significant backcourt starters.
After making 38 percent of his 3-point attempts across his first two years, Cremo shot 45 percent as a junior. He’s an 84-percent career foul shooter who has averaged 4.4 rebounds and more than 30 minutes through 100 college games.
“It might look like kind of a selfish decision to a lot of people, but for me it’s just taking a chance on myself,” Cremo told WNYT television. “I’m just trying to compete at the highest level, something I’ve always wanted to do.
“I feel like I can compete with anybody, so why not take a chance on it? You only get one shot at it.
Albany averaged more than 22 wins during his three years — appearing in the CBI and CIT postseason fields — but never winning the America East tournament in order to secure an NCAA bid.
“I wouldn’t take any of it back, and I told the (Albany) coaches that in my meeting. I wouldn’t change a thing. …We always talked about winning a championship and we didn’t reach the standards that are set here at Albany, and for the community and the people who support us, I’m sorry.”
During the era of grad transfers, West Virginia’s basketball program has taken only one — Matt Humphrey. The former Oregon and Boston College player appeared 19 games and averaged 4.7 points for the 2013 team that finished 13-19, only the second losing record Bob Huggins has posted in 33 seasons as a Division I coach.
The Mountaineers are losing two-time NABC national defensive player of the year Jevon Carter and four-year starter Daxter Miles, guards who combined to score 30 points per game during a season that culminated in the Sweet 16.
Next season’s backcourt projects to return sophomore Beetle Bolden and freshman Brandon Knapper, who’s coming off a medical redshirt. Among four newcomers in the signing class is 5-11 point guard Jordan McCabe and 6-3 shooting guard Trey Doomes.