West Virginia guard Taz Sherman drives against an Oklahoma State defender at the WVU Coliseum on March 6, 2021.

West Virginia guard Taz Sherman drives against an Oklahoma State defender at the WVU Coliseum on March 6, 2021. 

The West Virginia men’s basketball team lost some key players following the 2020-21 season, but many veterans are back for another year in Morgantown.

Even with the departures of Miles McBride and Derek Culver, West Virginia has multiple veterans a team that was a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament in March. Guards Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil are back along with forward Gabe Osabuohien.

McNeil took most of the summer before making his final decision to return to West Virginia.

“I got a lot of good feedback,” McNeil said. “I didn’t expect to get that much feedback and that positive feedback. One of the things they said was to be able to create your own shot off the bounce because a lot of last year, Deuce [McBride] would create and drive and pitch it to me.”

Sherman and Osabuohien are two of five fifth-year players on the roster this year with the additions of Dimon Carrigan, Malik Curry and Pauly Paulicap. Osabuohien didn’t hesitate to announce in the spring that he was returning for another year, but Sherman went through most of the NBA Draft process before returning.

Many players in college basketball now have the unique opportunity to go through the majority of the draft process before having to make a final decision. The process allows them to work out for NBA teams and to get advice on what they need to improve on while keeping the door open for them to return to college.

Osabuohien made his decision early to return and he said it was because of the way the season ended in March in the NCAA Tournament.

“What was on my head was losing to Syracuse” Osabuohien said. “I didn’t want to go out like that. I was so mad after that game.”

Osabuohien has been the player that comes off the bench to energize the team. Even with new additions and being one of the older players, Osabuohien said his role remains mostly the same.

“I think my role changes a little bit more to where I’ll have to help the team in every aspect,” Osabuohien said. “The role definitely gets bigger, but it’s still the same. My number one thing is making sure we win.”

Sherman returned for the Mountaineers this year with a major goal in place for his team and head coach Bob Huggins.

“I want to get Huggs a national championship,” Sherman said at Big 12 Media Days. “I feel like we’ve had teams since I’ve been here that could’ve done it.”

West Virginia’s regular season officially begins on Nov. 9 against Oakland at the WVU Coliseum. The Mountaineers play a charity exhibition game against the Akron Zips on Oct. 29.