Through locker room issues, an overall down season and his own baptism by fire, Derek Culver put together a breakout freshman season at West Virginia.
That season was a learning experience for many of Culver’s fellow sophomores, but his was unique among them as he had his own personal hoops to jump through.
“I didn’t get to play the beginning of my freshman year, due to stuff, you know, off the court issues. Just stuff that I had to figure out, you know, teach myself men things,” Culver told ESPN’s Matt Schick at Big 12 Media Day. “Huggs, he really helped me other than just basketball, because by him sitting me down and teaching me life lessons…that really showed me a lot.”
Culver wasn’t able to make his first appearance until late December, but it wasn’t long until he would make an impact on the team. He put up his first double-double in just his second career game in college, and it wouldn’t be long after until that would be his average. By the end of the season, Culver was second in the Big 12 in rebounding average and led all conference freshmen in scoring.
For his success, Culver again credits his coach.
While he may have learned a lot off the court, he says he’s improved on it, as well. Most notably, there’s one thing he has now as a sophomore that he didn’t have as a freshman: patience.
“Last year, I used to rush my shots, I never really used to get into my shots. I never got the shots that I wanted, I always took shots that was given to me,” he said. “This year, post play, I can get the ball in the post, look three quarters, see what I have. If I don’t have anything, I’ll be able to do what I have to do in the post…and I believe I’m a good enough passer to kick it out to my guards for an open three.”