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Home ยป Mountaineers have a plan to play without their point guard – 247Sports

Mountaineers have a plan to play without their point guard – 247Sports

West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins announced on his radio show Thursday night starting point guard Kedrian Johnson will not play in Saturday’s home game against No. 3 Kansas. The sixth-year senior suffered a concussion in Monday’s loss to Oklahoma State.
Huggins reiterated his claim that Johnson is the “best on-the-ball defender in our league, which says a lot,” and said that void puts pressure on the replacements. In addition, Johnson, in his third season with the Mountaineers (10-4, 0-2 Big 12) is averaging 9.1 points and 3.4 assists per game.
“Keddy’s the one guy every single guy on our club respects,” Huggins said. “They respect what he’s done in the past. They respect the fact he’s a guy who couldn’ve left and (instead) said, ‘This is my school. This is my team. I want to help fix this.’ You can’t imagine the respect that guy’s had from our guys. What’s kind of amazed me is even the guys who came in, basically one-year guys, the respect they have for him.”
A former player at Division I Saint Peter’s in New Jersey and Temple College in Texas, Johnson had started the past 22 games and 44 of the past 46. He’s third on the team in minutes played this season but was 1-for-10 and 0-for-8 from the floor in the losses to Kansas State had Oklahoma State.
“It’s going to be difficult, for sure,” guard Erik Stevenson said. “Obviously, he’s been our starting point guard the entire year, and he’s played a lot of minutes for us. He’s a great defender for us. He keeps us in our offense. It is what it is. He’s got a concussion. We’re obviously a man down going into probably our biggest two-game stretch of the season so far. But we’ve got plenty of guys who can step up and play.”
The Mountaineers figure to start Iowa transfer Joe Toussaint in Johnson’s place and use combo guard Kobe Johnson as a point guard. Stevenson said he, too, can handle some ball-handling duties if needed.
Toussaint has been the backup point guard but has played with Johnson frequently this season, which is another contingency the Mountaineers will have to account for in the 6 p.m. game against the Jayhawks (13-1, 2-0). Toussaint’s last start was Jan. 31, 2022, when the Hawkeyes lost a road game to Penn State. In 41 career starts, he’s averaged 5.8 points and 3.5 assists and shot 41.7 percent from the floor, 37.2 percent from 3-point range and 87 percent from the foul line. In 71 games as a reserve, he’s averaged 5.2 points and 2.5 assists and shot 39.2 percent from the floor, 24.1 percent from 3-point range and 71.9 percent from the foul line.
He, too, struggled on the road trip and shot a combined 3-for-10 from the floor, 1-for-4 from 3-point range and 1-for-4 at the foul line while totaling eight points and three assists.
“He knows how to win,” Stevenson said. “Obviously, he hasn’t been playing the way we want him to play, but we’re trying to keep him as confident as he can be in himself. That’s what this game is all about. Be confident you’re going to step up to the free-throw line and make the free throws or make the shot, or be confident you can rotate on defense and your teammates will have your back.
“You try to instill confidence in everybody. I don’t know how the game’s going to play out and how the game’s going to be, but there’s going to be somebody who plays a lot more minutes than they typically do.”
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