Report: Culver, Tshiebwe to return for West Virginia next season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bob Huggins is set to have his whole crew back at West Virginia next season.

Forwards Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver will both be back with the Mountaineers, Huggins told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein on Tuesday. Neither player will test out the NBA Draft process with the league headed into an uncertain offseason, which at this point does not have a start or end date.

That makes guard Brandon Knapper the only loss from this year’s roster outside of the team’s three departing seniors. Knapper entered the transfer portal.

Sophomore guard Jordan McCabe poured water on the notion that anyone other than Knapper is poised to transfer in a Monday night appearance on MetroNews Sportsline. McCabe answered in the affirmative when asked if everyone who is expected to be back will return to the Mountaineers next season.

“Not only do we have the pieces in each area, but we definitely have the pieces that are motivated,” McCabe said. “We’re excited and motivated to make a jump.”

The return of Tshiebwe and Culver is poised to make the Mountaineers a potential favorite in the Big 12 title race next year. The pair led West Virginia in scoring, with Tshiebwe averaging 11.2 points per game and Culver averaging 10.4 points per game.

As a freshman, Tshiebwe was second to Big 12 player of the year Udoka Azubuike on the glass, averaging 9.3 rebounds per game. Culver was fifth in the Big 12 with 8.6 rebounds per game.

West Virginia finished this season ranked 24th in the nation after the COVID-19 crisis caused the cancelation of the Big 12 and NCAA basketball tournaments.

In addition to returning seven letterwinners from this year’s team, the Mountaineers will add the services of freshman Jalen Bridges, who redshirted this season. Junior college point guard Kedrian Johnson should compete for a starting role. West Virginia will also add a pair of freshman forwards in Taj Thweatt and Isaiah Cottrell.

West Virginia announced its nonconference schedule on Monday.

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