Derek Culver, the 6’10 255 pound Sophomore, was a dominant force as a Freshman last year. Culver, a potential double-double waiting to happen, averaged 11.5 and 9.9 rebounds per game and it appeared at times that he could not be kept off the offensive glass.
Culver was a 2nd team Big 12 player last year and despite missing the first 10 games of the season due to disciplinary reasons, proved to be one of the best interior players in the Big 12 a season ago. Bob Huggins, in an interview with WV MetroNews last season, said of Culver: “Derek doesn’t have a clue. It’s amazing he gets done what he gets done, because he doesn’t have a clue. If he will listen and put the time in and work at, he will be good.”
In other words, Derek Culver was relying on pure natural ability and athleticism last year. With a year behind him, a summer in the weight room, and starting the season with the rest of the team next year, it was thought by many that this would be a huge year for him.
Combining with newcomer Oscar Tshiebwe to form the best interior combo in the Big 12 and perhaps the country, Culver came into the season with a real opportunity to become the Big 12’s Player of the Year in 2019-2020.
It’s very, very early into the season, but Derek Culver does not look like Derek Culver right now. He currently averages 11.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists while shooting 28.6% from the field. In the season opener against Akron, Culver shot 4-15 from the field and finished with 16 points. In the second game against Pitt, Culver struggled again, shooting 1-5 from the field and only had 4 points. Against Northern Colorado, he sat out the entire first half before shooting 3-8 and adding 13 points.
Following the game against Northern Colorado, Bob Huggins responded to a question about Culver’s absence during the first half by saying, “I decided not to play him. We’re going to do right and we’re going to all be on the same page.”
Clearly Bob Huggins is unhappy with Culver off the floor and it’s translating into poor play on the court. Derek Culver has all the potential in the world and can be a future NBA player if he listens to Coach Huggins, but it appears that Culver has not yet matured in the way that West Virginia fans had hoped he would since last season. In order to be successful, the Mountaineers need Derek Culver on the floor and for Derek Culver to reach his dream of one day playing professionally, he needs to be on the floor and he needs to listen to Bob Huggins to do that.