Courtesy of James Garcia, Sports Information Director, West Virginia State Athletics
The West Virginia State University men’s basketball team was picked to finish fourth in the 2023-24 Mountain East Conference Preseason Poll. The annual poll is voted on by the league’s head coaches.
The Yellow Jackets finished fourth in the MEC standings last season with a 20-9 overall record and 14-8 conference record. They won 15 of their first 16 games and were ranked as high as No. 11 in the national media and coaches polls.
Head Coach Bryan Poore returns for his 25th year at the helm of the WVSU men’s basketball program in 2023-24. He will be joined on the sidelines by fifth-year Assistant Coach Marcus Reed and first-year Graduate Assistant Lucas Meyer.
Six out of the seven top Yellow Jackets in minutes and scoring average from a season ago left over the offseason. Samier Kinsler (Fort Lewis), Malik Whitaker (Fort Lewis), Noah Jordan (Portland), Dwaine Jones (Charleston) and Ibn Loyal (Missouri Southern St.) all transferred while Taevon Horton exhausted his eligibility. Forward Anthony Pittman will return for his final year of eligibility.
Pittman averaged 11.3 points per game and a team-high 7.7 rebounds per game in 19 games played last season. He earned an All-MEC Honorable Mention after earning All-MEC First Team honors in the previous two seasons and All-MEC Second Team honors his freshman year.
Six other Yellow Jackets with minutes from last season return including Bunky Brown, Antonio Carter, Aboubacar Cisse, Miguel Martinez, Jacob Rice and Ricky Rollins. Nate Mims, a JUCO transfer, and Ethan Taylor also return after redshirting last year.
Ten newcomers were added to State’s roster over the offseason. Five of the newcomers are true freshmen while the other five are transfers. Juniors Kahari Rogers (Spartanburg Methodist) and Arthur Cox (Kirkwood) played at the NJCAA Division I and Division II levels respectively. Senior Mahzi Thames(Virginia Union) and junior Landry Palata(Bluefield State) are NCAA Division II transfers while Kalil Camara (St. Francis Brooklyn) is a NCAA Division I transfer.
West Liberty was the clear favorite to win the conference in the preseason poll with eight first place votes and 98 points. The Hilltoppers finished runners-up to Nova Southeastern (Fla.) in the NCAA Division II National Championship game last season. Charleston was voted second with 90 points and the remaining three first-place votes. Fairmont State was close behind in third place with 85 points.
West Virginia State (66 points) edged Davis & Elkins (65 points) for the fourth-place spot. Concord (52 points), Notre Dame College (50 points) and Glenville State were bunched up in the sixth through eighth spots. Wheeling (27 points), Frostburg State (21 points) and West Virginia Wesleyan (10 points) rounded out the poll.
WVSU men’s hoops will begin its 2023-24 campaign with a non-conference game against Winston-Salem State on Friday, Nov. 10 at the Walker Convocation Center. Single game tickets as well as season tickets can be purchased here.