With Jose Perez’s dismissal, West Virginia Basketball not Montana State transfer RaeQuan Battle even more for the upcoming season. But will he be able to play?
Once again, West Virginia Basketball has been in the offseason news, around a month before the season. This time it involved Jose Perez, the former transfer from Manhattan who didn’t play last season after not getting a waiver. He was set to play for them before reportedly being dismissed due to academic reasons in the past week.
That’s yet roster departure for the Mountaineers, whose depth is certainly going to be tested. On paper, the proven Big 12 players are transfers Kerr Kriisa, Jesse Edwards, and RaeQuan Battle. Between those three, Battle is the one that’s not fully cleared to play yet.
Battle, a former top-100 prospect, spent four years at both Washington and Montana State. Last season, the 6’5 guard averaged 17.7 ppg and was on the All-Big Sky team, leading them to the NCAA Tournament. He’s the top-scoring wing option on the roster and certainly is projected to start.
However, because Battle hasn’t graduated yet and is a two-time transfer, he needs a waiver from the NCAA to be able to play. And that process hasn’t gone well for the program in the past 12 months. Not only did Perez get his waiver denied before but Omar Silverio, a transfer from Manhattan who also sat out, got his waiver request denied and ran out of eligibility.
If Battle is unable to play, along with Eastern Michigan transfer Noah Farrakhan unable to play too. (assuming he doesn’t get a waiver either), West Virginia will need to rely on guys like Seth Wilson and Kobe Johnson to take major leaps after not playing as much last season. Freshman wing Ofri Naveh will have to play early minutes as well.
That creates major shooting questions and considering how few proven shooters/scorers there are on this team, West Virginia could be in major danger without others stepping up. Even if Battle isn’t as good as he was in the Big Sky, this team desperately needs him badly to be viable in the league. Otherwise, they’ll be looking at the bottom.