MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia will have several new faces on the basketball court this season and a few familiar ones. Without Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr., the Mountaineers will turn to some of their upperclassmen to take over those crucial roles, including Chase Harler.
As a sophomore, Harler averaged 1.6 points and 0.7 rebounds per game, which may make him seem like an unlikely candidate to be a big contributor.
However, the Moundsville native has worked hard over the summer to improve his game.
“I think I’m getting to play more in practice and worked hard at it this summer,” he said. “I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life right now.”
One thing that benefited Harler was playing for Team Ohio in China against teams from China, Germany and Lithuania.
“We only had seven guys. It was a 40 minute game so we got to play about 35 minutes over there,” he said. “Just getting to play a lot and reminding myself that I can do the things that I’ve been doing my whole career and I’m starting to do a little bit more of that now.”
With his junior year underway, the 6-foot-3, 210-pound guard is ready to go out there and take what he learned and put it to use for WVU. During the preseason, it appears he is doing just that.
“Chase has been really good,” head coach Bob Huggins said. “He hasn’t had a bad practice. He’s shot the ball really well. He’s taking care of the ball. He might be our best perimeter defender right now. He didn’t shoot it real well against Purdue but they were good shots and they had a chance to go in. I think he’s going to have some big games for us.”
The biggest difference in the Wheeling Central High School alum is his confidence level.
“He’s certainly played well enough to have confidence,” Huggins added. “I think he’s more comfortable in what we do. Last year had to be hard because you had two guys ahead of you that are pretty good and they are going to play a lot of minutes. Then you are fighting everybody else for what minutes are left. He’s the veteran guy now. He’s trying to help these younger guys.”
Over the summer, Harler spent a lot of time regrouping mentally and on the court. The consistency of his shot was a huge emphasis for the junior.
“I feel like I’ve been shooting better this preseason and just being more consistent with that, ball handling and understanding the offense a little better,” he said.
With a lot of focus on Sagaba Konate, Esa Ahmad, Lamont West and Beetle Bolden, Harler could get a lot of chances to drop some points, which will benefit the Mountaineers.
“He’s shot it well,” Huggins said. “He’s shot it with a lot of confidence. Everything he shoots looks like it’s going in.”
Cover Photo Credit: Shanna Rose, BGS