Verbal View: Lamont West

West Virginia rounded out its 2015 men's basketball recruiting class with a late commitment that appears to fit well in its current blueprint. Get more on Lamont West's strengths and challenges in our analysis.

WHAT TO LIKE

Versatility is West's biggest attribute, as he can play and defend multiple positions. While he maintains that he can play any position on the court, he's likely to be a three or a four at WVU, in a system where those spots are often interchangeable. He might also be called upon to help defend top wing scorers if his defense develops, and his length should help him cut down passing lanes in West Virginia's press.

"He's an athletic forward with long arms," Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Snow said. "He is capable of making shots off the the catch from three. He is still working to define his skills, but he has gotten better quickly and there is a lot of upside left with him."

That rapid improvement helped West's stock rise greatly over the past month or so, and his aptitude for improvement also stands out as a positive. He didn't rest on his laurels over his final high school season or during his travel season, and continued to up his game. That mindset, if he continues to carry it at West Virginia, will be a major factor in his college career.


POSSIBLE CONCERNS

Any late signee is automatically going to get labelled, at least by a segment of the general public, as a "filler" or a "fallback" player. While that wasn't West's story (WVU lost track of him when he moved from Cincinnati, Oh., to Lithonia, Ga.,) it is true that he didn't have a lot of offers or attract a ton of interest until late in his final high school season. His flirtation with attending prep school for a year in 2015-16 also may have affected the recruiting process.

Like most high schoolers, West will have to fill out a twitchy, yet slender, frame. At six feet, eight inches, his 200 pounds or so are spread thin, and if he is to guard players like Georges Niang, his strength will have to improve. There's also the question of how he adapts defensively to West Virginia's press. Can he defend 94 feet without fouling -- a bugaboo which plagued several Mountaineers this year -- and can he still put the ball on the floor and attack offensively after putting out maximum effort on defense?

As Mountaineer fans saw this year, some players are still struggling with all of this, especially the fouls. Some fought to implement what they worked on in practice every day. West's ability to meet these challenges will also play a big part in his ability to contribute to the WVU program.


OVERALL ANALYSIS

One of the best factors about West is that he's a high schooler, not a junior college product. While jucos do fill a role, the luxury of having four years to develop is a big advantage over those who came from two-year schools, which takes a bit of pressure off West. While he will get the chance to compete for time, the attendant pressure to makes something happen immediately is lessened somewhat, and with several players already in place at his likely positions he's not going to be under the gun to have a big role early on.

West's game and attributes should help him acclimate early, however, even if it doesn't result in big minutes in his first year or two. He can learn from teammates, contribute in spots, and prepare himself for the future, when WVU will need to replace players that will be graduating. At this point in the recruiting game, West was a good pickup -- one that may have been overlooked somewhat, but could turn into a very solid contributor both offensively and defensively.

WVU 2015 Basketball Commitments


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