It’s probably fair to call this the season from hell for West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are 10-14 overall and in last place in the Big 12 with a 2-9 record that includes a 31-point losses to TCU and Texas Tech, a a 22-point loss to Texas and a 25-point loss to Iowa State that prompted coach Bob Huggins to admit that he was “miserable” and that the Mountaineers “suck.”
With all that, West Virginia seemed to descend to a lower circle Monday.
Esa Ahmad and Wesley Harris, both starters who have had off-court issues in the past, were dismissed from the program “for a violation of athletic department policies,” the school announced.
So unless dropping two guys who averaged a combined 20 points and 10 rebounds per game is somehow going to be a case of addition by subtraction, West Virginia’s already horrible season looks to be on a path to get worse.
Ahmad, a senior and former four-star recruit, was ineligible for the first half of last season due to an academic issue while Harris, a junior, was reprimanded for throwing a punch at a fan at Texas Tech last year and then was later charged with battery for a separate incident in which he allegedly punched a man during a traffic dispute.
The Mountaineers, who have played without injured star Sagaba Konate almost all season, are going to learn in a hurry what their newly-depleted roster is going to be up against the rest of the season as they head to Lawrence to face 14-time defending Big 12 champ Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse on Saturday.
Perhaps the only silver lining for Huggins and the Mountaineers is the last time they bottomed out like this, going 13-18 overall and 6-12 in the Big 12 in 2013, Huggins reinvented his program with the full-court defensive strategy that allowed ‘Press Virginia’ to thrive from 2014 until now. This type of season could be a catalyst for something similar. Or at least Huggins has to hope so.