30 January 2012
A lot of Mountaineer fans wonder if moving to the Big 12 will be detrimental to WVU’s basketball recruiting.
In the past, Huggins and his assistants have capitalized on Northeast hoops by hitting New York's fertile recruiting ground hard. So a lot of WVU fans wonder – and rightly so – how the move to the Big 12 will affect WVU’s Big Apple connection.
WVU has lived off NYC area players the past few years. Da’Sean Butler, Devin Ebanks, Truck Bryant, Kevin Jones and Jabarie Hinds come to mind. Even lightly used Dominque Rutledge is from Newark.
When news of WVU’s move to the Big 12 first broke back in October, Coach Huggins was asked this question directly. At the time, he seemed fairly unconcerned. "I don't know," Huggins said. "We'll have to see. Kansas gets into New Jersey and recruits. We went into Chicago and got Jake Pullen when I was at K-State."
The reason Jersey and NYC kids flourish at WVU is because they are blue collar. They strain, they work, they scratch, they claw…they fight you. Those are the kinds of players Huggins love. The rebounders, the defenders, the brawlers.
But Chicago offers that sort of mentality. Washington D.C. does too. Detroit does. And so does other areas of the country.
Even with the move to the Big 12, WVU can and will continue to plumb NYC and the Jersey-NY metro area for players. But the Mountaineers may also widen their recruiting range to take advantage of the traditional Big 12 areas.
If you look at the Mountaineers current roster, you’ll see four kids from the NY area. But after that? It’s spread all over the country. Two from Ohio, two from Pennsylvania, and one each Minnesota, Michigan, Dallas, Turkey and Puerto Rico.
I did some research. I went to the Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor, TCU, Iowa State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Kansas State official basketball websites. A scan of the current Big 12 team rosters show 80 players from states in the West and Midwest, while 28 players hail from Eastern and Southern states. That’s a 3:1 ratio.
There are only 10 foreign born players on Big 12 rosters.
If you take a closer look at the rosters and examine individual players by state, it reveals a whopping 34 players come from the state of Texas. The state with the next highest representation of players is California with nine, followed by Kansas (seven players), Oklahoma (six), Missouri (five) and Illinois (four).
As far as Eastern / Southern states go, New York has the most with four NY state natives playing in the Big 12. Louisiana also has four, followed by Florida (three players), Washington D.C. (three), Pennsylvania (three) and North Carolina (three).
See the list below for a complete breakdown of current Big 12 rosters with details of the number of players by state.
So will the move to the Big 12 affect WVU recruiting in the Big Apple? Quite possibly, yes.
But I think the Mountaineers will more than make up for it by mining other areas for players that fit the Huggins style. And I think WVU will still pull players from NYC, just maybe not as frequently as before.
CURRENT BIG 12 ROSTERS: Where do the players come from?
Western & Midwest – 80 players (73%)
Texas – 34
California – 9
Kansas – 7
Oklahoma – 6
Missouri – 5
Illinois – 4
Iowa – 3
Nevada – 3
Oregon – 2
Wisconsin – 2
Michigan – 2
Minnesota – 2
New Mexico – 1
Eastern and Southern – 28 players (25%)
Louisiana – 4
New York – 4
Florida – 3
Wash DC – 3
Pennsylvania – 3
NC – 3
New Jersey – 2
Md – 1
Va – 1
Miss – 1
Tennessee – 1
Arkansas – 1
Georgia – 1
Foreign players – 10 (2%)