Basketball Preview - Power Forwards

The Mountaineers deal from a position of strength (if not overwhelming size) at power forward with the return of senior Chris Moss.

It may seem strange to think of a player as undersized at 6-8 and 225, but in the rugged Big East, Chris Moss will be facing many players larger than he.

That's a challenge that the competitive Moss has almost always met. Despite being smaller than many opponents, Moss manages to get to the hoop to score or rebound with consistency.

"Overall, Chris Moss might be the best four in the Big East," head coach Gale Catlett proclaimed. "He might not be the best dribbler or the best shooter, but overall, he's tough to beat."

With the departure of front line partner Calvin Bowman, Moss will shoulder even more of the scoring load this year, although he should have more help from the backcourt.

We know what Moss can do on the floor. He will provide WVU with scoring punch in the lane and will have to be a solid rebounder on both ends. He will often defend the best scorer on the opposing team's front line. He will play the game with intensity.

The new factor for this season is that Moss will be in a position of leadership both on and off the court. How he handles that role will be almost as important as his oncourt performance. After suffering a couple of blowups during his career, Moss will now be looked to maintain his composure as newcomers to the team look to him for leadership.

Chaz Briggs
One of those newcomers is Chaz Briggs, a lanky junior college transfer who provides a contrast to the more muscular Moss. Briggs figures to be able to help in WVU's press, and also in the open court transition game, but at 6-7 and about 185 pounds (he's nowhere near his listed 210), Briggs will fight an uphill battle almost every night in the Big East.

Briggs will have to use his quickness and savvy to get to the boards to score and rebound, and will also have to use those traits to defend the many opponents who figure to try to post him up on the defensive end. On the plus side, Briggs should be able to provide immediate help for West Virginia's pressure defenses.

In the halfcourt, Briggs will be guarding players who are much more physical than those he faced in junior college, and he figures to have problems as he adjusts to a new style of play.

WVU has other options at the four. They can "go small" with Josh Yeager, or they could bulk up at times by sliding John Oliver over from the five. in either case, Catlett has a flexibility that he didn't have in previous season to match personnel to the task at hand.

As the season unfolds, we figure to see a lot of Chris Moss, and a "backup by committee" behind him. It will be important for Moss to keep his cool and provide the leadership that the youngsters need. Moss can't afford to be in chronic foul trouble or on the bench - WVU needs to have him on the floor for 25-30 minutes per game, and to be productive while he's there.

Up next: Centers

Point Guards Shooting Guards Small Forwards

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