By Dave Morrison
David Nyarsuk is used to being the big man on campus.
So this is going to be strange for the 7-foot-1 center prospect.
Nyarsuk, who committed to West Virginia last winter, is playing for Mountain State University after not meeting the ACT requirements to play Division I basketball. He missed the English requirement by 10 points, although he had a 3.2 GPA for his core high school grade-point average.
“It’s disappointing (not being at West Virginia),” Nyarsuk said. “At the same time, I liked when I was here at the (Mountain State) Academy, and I know a lot of the people, the players, and they are my friends.”
Usually the big man on any team he has played on, Nyarsuk is a full 7 inches shorter than teammate Paul Sturgess.
“It’s strange, because I am always the biggest man on my team,” said Nyarsuk, who would have been the tallest player at WVU this season. “But it is good. I like playing on the team with him. He is a good player.”
Nyarsuk has an outstanding chance to make an immediate impact for MSU this season.
“He’s a tremendous shot blocker,” MSU coach Bob Bolen said. “And a great teammate. I think he can, and will, become an immediate impact player for Mountain State University.”
Nyarsuk is eligible to play immediately under NAIA guidelines because his high school GPA was 3.2.
Nyarsuk averaged about 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks per game last year for the Academy, which closed last month.
“I just want to play basketball, and more than that I want to help this team win a championship,” he said. “It is a good team. We have as much talent as anyone I have seen. It is going to be a good year.”
Another addition that will likely also make an impact is Robert Morris (NAIA) transfer Doug Wiggins, who played two seasons at UConn and one season at UMass. H never played for Robert Morris and left after the assistant coach who recruited him left RMU.
Wiggins, a point guard, is looking at this season as a chance to make up for lost chances at the NCAA Division I level.
“I’ve made some mistakes, and this is my last chance,” said Wiggins, who averaged about seven points and seven assists as a backup and nearly 19 minutes of playing time per game for the Huskies. “I don’t know, I have a good feeling about this.
“It’s an opportunity for me to get my name back out there, do a good job and clear my persona. I’m thankful for this opportunity.”
Wiggins is clearly the perfect fit for what Mountain State needs from its point guard.
“He is a true point guard,” Bolen said. “He thinks pass first. He shoots the three well, defends well. He is solid in all areas.”
Wiggins said he is exited about the collection of talent at MSU.
“These guys can all play,” he said. “I don’t think this is a step down. If I thought that, my play might take a step down. My job is to try and be a leader. I learned from playing behind great players like A.J. Price (at UConn) and Chris Lowe (at UMass) and I want to take some of those things and share it with the guys here. We have a good team and we’re eyeing that championship this year.”
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