MORGNTOWN — Josh Eilert closed the curious case of Jose Perez throughout his media convention Tuesday.
The WVU males’s interim basketball coach cited pupil privateness legal guidelines that stored him from going too far right into a dialogue on Perez, who was faraway from the group final week after by no means having performed a recreation for the Mountaineers.
But Eilert didn’t draw back from the state of affairs or ignore the actual fact this was his first main impactful resolution he’s needed to make for this system since taking up as interim in July.
“I’m in control of this basketball program and main this basketball program,” Eilert mentioned. “Like I advised all of our guys, I’m going to do what’s in the very best curiosity of everyone in this system. I’m going to make the suitable choices in the very best curiosity of everyone. That’s the best way I have a look at it.”
Perez first got here to WVU at first of the 2022-23 college 12 months as a switch from Manhattan. He was coming off a season wherein he averaged 18.9 factors and 4.5 assists, a season wherein he topped 30 factors 3 times.
His potential appeared attention-grabbing on the very least, but he was by no means granted a waiver by the NCAA and was compelled to sit down out final season in an effort to play his ultimate season now.
That modified final Saturday when WVU launched a press release saying it had parted methods with Perez.
The Bronx, N.Y. native who’s 25 years outdated and earned his Regents Bachelor of Arts diploma at WVU, didn’t go quietly.
In a put up on social media, Perez claimed Eilert eliminated him from the group for lacking research halls. He additionally claimed he was “thrown to the road like a useless animal” within the put up.
“I’m not going to get into that,” Eilert mentioned when requested about Perez’s claims. “I talked concerning the non-negotiables on the first group assembly, and there’s loads of non-negotiables. I wasn’t going to compromise the integrity of this system or the tradition of this system. We’re transferring ahead. We’ve obtained an awesome group of fellows. All people else on the roster is doing issues the suitable manner. We’re going to reward these guys and transfer ahead.”
Eilert added he was pleased with Perez for incomes his diploma, however he envisioned quite a few gamers on the roster would step up in Perez’s absence.
“I believe it’s going to empower loads of guys,” Eilert mentioned. “There have been loads of guys on the roster who most likely felt like they have been within the background, so to talk. Now they see they’ve a very good alternative and people guys have performed issues the suitable manner. I believe it’s going to empower them and provides them confidence to maneuver ahead and actually assist this program.”
As to what the Mountaineers will likely be lacking with out Perez, a lot of that’s unknown. He was in a position to observe and work out with the group whereas sitting out final season, however he hasn’t performed in an actual recreation since March 8, 2022.
“What we’re speaking about is Jose was right here 10 months, however he by no means performed,” Eilert mentioned. “We’re performing like we’re filling a void. Positive, he was on the roster with each intention of him taking part in and being part of this program. There was loads of speak on the market he was going to be a starter and this, that and the opposite. There was nothing thus far that I mentioned that promised he’d be to that degree. We had loads of guys competing with him.”
The Mountaineers do face a shortened roster with out Perez, and the likelihood stays the NCAA received’t clear guard RaeQuan Battle for fast eligibility this season, both.
Eilert mentioned the varsity nonetheless has heard nothing again from the NCAA on Battle’s state of affairs.
Japanese Michigan switch Noah Farrakhan can be sitting out this season attributable to switch guidelines.
With none of these gamers, WVU may very well be getting into the season with simply 10 scholarship gamers and a walk-on.
Two of these gamers — Jeremiah Bembry and Ofri Naveh — have by no means performed a second of school hoops earlier than, leaving WVU with simply eight gamers with Division I taking part in expertise.