Even before Matt Humphrey joined the WVU men’s basketball roster yesterday, there was at least realistic concern as to whether Elijah Macon could get himself right in the classroom in time to play for the Mountaineers.
I mean, way before yesterday.
But with Humphrey joining — and more on him in a moment — WVU now has 13 players enrolled who are on scholarship. That’s the NCAA maximum and that’s not a problem until you realize Macon, the top-rated recruit in WVU’s 2012 class, is not in that baker’s dozen.
Reason being? He’s back home in Columbus, Ohio, re-taking three of his core courses so he can replace three lower core grades. That would, ideally, raise his GPA which would then lower the target he has to hit on the ACT he took June 9. It’s not impossible, but certainly it’s not what one would call promising, either.
“I think everyone can be cautiously optimistic, but every college coach has a responsibility to do what’s in the best interest of his team,” Fulford said. “If there’s a kid out there who’s ready to go and he’s a good player – and obviously they do need a shooter, so it’s a good pick-up – I think you can understand making a decision that helps the team.
“But if Elijah makes it, they’ll figure it out. If he qualifies, he’ll have a scholarship.”
If you believe the hype, WVU doesn’t have 13 players better than Macon. Yet WVU does have 13 players who are “better” as far as the NCAA’s eligibility center is concerned.
So you have Matt Humphrey today, a 6 foot, 5 inch shooting guard raised on the aggressive Chicago style of hoops, but someone who has also traveled a bit in his career.
He started off at Oregon and battled youth and injuries on two so-so teams. Then came a transfer and a year sitting and watching before a solid 2011-12 season at Boston College.
He started 29 of 31 games and scored at least 10 points 17 times. Humphrey led the rebuilding Eagles in minutes (30.1) and steals (34), was second in scoring and 3-point baskets (55) and third in assists (50). Let’s stress rebuilding: That was a bad team (9-22 overall, 4-12 in the ACC) with guard problems and I imagine there were significant struggles for a new guy to work his way in there.
Still, he seems like a Huggins player in that he’s long on the perimiter and can do a few things pretty ably. Look closer, though, and you’ll find he’s not a terribly efficient player — and inefficiency in the backcourt was a problem last season.
Humphrey is a 35-percent shooter across his career and the majority of his field-goal attempts have been 3-pointers. Really: 526 career shots, 320 career 3-point shots. His 3-point percentages: 35.4, 33.9, 31.2.
That looks familiar, right?
Not surprisingly, he doesn’t get to the free-throw line very often, which means he’s not getting to the basket very often, despite his size. Only 20.4, 23.5 and 33.1 percent of his points have come on 2-point baskets and he’s only attempted 157 free throws in 94 games — and he shoots a very un-guardly 59.1 percent at the line.
Humphrey also has 85 career assists and 96 turnovers, but does block and steal the ball pretty well (29 and 68 in his career) and he’s become a better rebouncer over time, going from 1.5 per game as a freshman to 2.5 as a sophomore and then 3.4 last season.
He’ll have to focus on the above paragraph — shooters and scorers don’t often trend one way for three years and then reverse the trend for a season — and get better with the ball, but continue his good defense and rebounding if he’s to really help in his one season with WVU.