West Virginia University’s athletic recruiting has been anything but quiet the last few months.
This is the case even though the pandemic caused the shutdown of in-person recruiting, the cancellation of all summer camps and cast doubt about whether high school and junior college prospects will even have a season.
Earlier this month, the Mountaineer basketball team used its 13th and final scholarship for the 2020-21 season by signing Seny Ndiaye. The 6-foot-11 big man originally enrolled at Huntington Prep but had been working out at Beckley Prep in recent weeks in preparation for his fifth year — a prep year — of high school before signing as part of the 2021 class.
However, he already has his high school diploma, so that extra year was for nothing more than to fully develop his body and game before heading off to college. Rather than do that in uncertain times at the high school level, Ndiaye and the WVU coaches chose to do that in Morgantown, likely with a redshirt season, like Fairmont’s Jalen Bridges last season.
Closing out late for 2020 has not been the only movement lately, either. For 2021, coach Bob Huggins and his staff recently made an offer to Boca Raton (Florida) St. Andrews School wing Josh Minott. He’s 6-foot-8 with a forward-type body but guard-like skills. He may be the top target for the staff to put alongside current commitment Seth Wilson in the backcourt.
Waiting in the wings, though, could be Beckley Prep wing Sam Alajiki. Also more of a forward body with guard skills, Alajiki moved to the United States from Ireland, and assistant coach Ron Everhart visited him before the pandemic struck down in-person recruiting. On Friday, he had a virtual visit with the staff.
For 2022, let’s stay in the state. Poca’s Isaac McKneely remains a top target for the Mountaineers, and the talented shooting guard has been picking up a lot of other interest lately as well. He visited multiple times in the winter, and the staff reached out the moment they were allowed to at midnight on June 15.
For 2023, there are only a handful of offers out, but one of them is new — and was handed out by Huggins himself. Gus Yalden, a 6-foot-10 forward out of Asheville (North Carolina) School, said that his coach asked him to call Huggins earlier this month and, after a long talk, he received an offer from the Mountaineers. He has not yet visited WVU, but has been following the program closely. Yalden is actually from Wisconsin and grew up with current Mountaineer Jordan McCabe.
With AAU competition on hold, things might slow down a bit on the hoops recruiting front. When they kick back into high gear, though, Huggins and his staff have done the work during this downtime to be ready.