Derek Culver explains his decision to forfeit remaining eligibility and sue NBA
MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – A Led Zeppelin song comes to mind when I think of the end of Derek Culver’s career at WVU.
This saga has certainly left fans stunned and confused.
Unlike his teammate Deuce McBride, who is still chasing the agentless NBA Draft, Culver signed with an agent in late April, losing his remaining collegiate eligibility. He then denied that he was leaving WVU and then repeated that statement.
Two months later, Culver is still pursuing professional basketball. He trained for the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday and he’s making the most of the draft process.
“I’ve never really experienced a process like this before. It’s fun, ”Culver said. “I am learning.”
The decision to leave WVU, however? It was a family affair, he said, and it was about time.
“It was something my family talked about for a little while,” Culver said. “We were weighing our options. I felt it was time for us to take this route.
Culver added that he had not consulted with any of his teammates before signing with an agent, although he is still speaking to some of the 2020-21 team members who have reached the NCAA tournament. He also explained that head coach Bob Huggins is a big reason he’s able to interact with NBA teams.
“Coach Huggs, he’s taught me a lot as a person, a player and a man in general,” Culver said. “Everything has consequences. ”
It’s an interesting wording from Culver, because it sounds like something Huggins said earlier today. Hours before Culver appeared in California court, Huggins spoke to reporters here in Mountain State, sharing his thoughts on Culver’s departure for the first time.
Everything has consequences, especially a decision to leave school early to pursue a professional career. Huggins has seen a lot of lawsuits that don’t work.
“The saddest thing for me is that every summer someone comes back and says, ‘Huggs, I wish I had listened,” ”Huggins said.
The longtime Mountaineers head coach said he always has the best interests of his players in mind. He advises his players accordingly. Agents, however, tend to paint a different picture – one that involves a big payday.
“If you can imagine being on the road and making that kind of money, living that kind of life, that’s a very exciting thing for them,” Huggins said. “What’s not exciting is when it doesn’t work.”
But Culver didn’t leave WVU because of a dispute with Huggins. He certainly hasn’t left out the desire to play a different position, even though some NBA teams see him as a four.
It’s a very different role than the one he primarily played for the Mountaineers.
“Coach Huggs, he always let me play, even though I was put down like five,” Culver said. “But that’s what I needed. At that time, that was my best attribute.
On the contrary, Culver said Huggins encouraged him to become more pro-ready during his time at WVU. The 900 career contest winner has taught the forward to work on his game “as a whole,” helping him gain a clearer perspective on what it would take to become a pro.
Now that he’s trained with four NBA teams – the Cavaliers, Knicks, Timberwolves and Warriors – Culver has tried to prove he can be a consistent shooter and even score at 3 points.
It was “weird” at first, he admits, but he thinks he gets it.
“Being able to shoot the ball, shoot the defense a little bit more, it’s fun,” Culver said. “You have a little more to work on. ”
Currently, Culver is not screened as a draft. He said he didn’t know what he would do on draft night, but wanted to spend it with his family. He could even watch the draft from his hometown of Youngstown, Ohio, where he rose to prominence in basketball despite a difficult childhood.
If that’s the way it goes, Culver’s draft day might sound less like a rock song than a poem, even if it isn’t selected.
“To be honest with you, I don’t mean I’m not supposed to be here, but coming from Youngstown, Ohio, there’s really not much going on,” Culver said. “For me to be sitting on this stage and talking to you with all these cameras, it’s just a blessing to me.”