West Virginia received disappointing news on Monday when the NCAA denied the immediate eligibility waiver for Montana State guard RaeQuan Battle.
The Mountaineers were hopeful that Battle would be eligible to play this season as a two-time transfer, having previously played at Washington before transferring to Montana State. West Virginia intends to appeal the decision, but it could have a significant impact on the 2023-24 team.
Interim head coach Josh Eilert expressed confidence last week that the NCAA would approve Battle’s waiver, considering the circumstances that led to his transfer. However, the NCAA decided against granting Battle eligibility for the upcoming season, despite the lengthy process that involved gathering additional information.
If the subsequent appeal is also denied, it will create a significant void in the roster, given the role Battle was expected to play on the team. Eilert made it clear that the waiver decision was a concern for the entire team, and now there is some degree of clarity.
If the decision is confirmed, finding a replacement for Battle’s contributions at the two or the three positions will be a challenge. Last season, Battle started all 35 games and averaged 17.7 points per game, with a shooting percentage of 46.9% from the field and 35.3% from three-point range.
In the absence of Battle, potential candidates to fill the void include returning players Seth Wilson and Kobe Johnson, and there may also be an opportunity for Florida State guard Jeremiah Bembry to receive more playing time. While Wilson is expected to provide consistent scoring, none of these options possess the same skill set as Battle.
This is another denial in a series of waivers for the basketball program, with Jose Perez and Omar Silverio also having their appeals rejected, resulting in the latter ending his playing career.
The appeal process will continue, but unless the decision is reversed, it will have a major impact on the potential and performance of this basketball team.
Laura Davis covers the world of basketball with precision. Her articles explore NBA and college basketball, offering game analysis, player profiles, and highlights. Laura’s passion for hoops is evident in her comprehensive basketball coverage.