MORGANTOWN — Jose Perez took to social media Friday to personally answer the question of where he stands for next basketball season.
“I’ll be back for the 2023-24 season,” Perez said in a 45-second video. “Mountaineer nation, let’s run it back. Let’s make a run.”
The 6-foot-5, 220-pound guard from Bronx, N.Y. transferred to WVU last year, but never gained clearance from the NCAA for immediate eligibility.
That ruling was appealed to the NCAA Committee for Legislative Relief, which again denied Perez’s appeal in January.
Perez remained enrolled at WVU and traveled with the team even after his appeals were denied. He was permitted to practice with the Mountaineers, but could not play in a game.
The 2023-24 season will be his final season of eligibility.
“It was a tough year for me and the team,” Perez said. “It didn’t end the way we wanted it to.
“I want to thank the fans and everybody at West Virginia University for all of the love and support. It was all felt. It definitely made me get up every morning to be better.”
Perez transferred to WVU from Manhattan on Oct. 30, after the school had fired head coach Steve Masiello.
He was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference preseason player of the year after averaging 18.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists during the 2021-22 season.
Perez had already earned two transfer waivers from the NCAA over his college career.
He began at Gardner-Webb — where he started 47 games over two seasons — before transferring to Marquette in 2020. Perez received a waiver for immediate eligibility to play that season.
In 2021, Perez transferred to Manhattan, using his one-time transfer waiver that had been allowed by the NCAA following the COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to play at WVU last season, he had to receive a third waiver, which didn’t come, forcing him to sit out one season under transfer rules.
“It’s extremely unfortunate,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said on Jan. 11. “I don’t know the whys and the wherefores, but I do know this, you’re talking about a kid who was a very good student in high school. He gave nobody problems or issues. The truth of the matter, and I’ll probably get in trouble for saying it, but (the NCAA) doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing.”
Over four seasons, Perez has played in 97 games and started 76 times. He’s scored 1,460 career points, while adding 113 3-pointers and shooting 39.8% from the floor.
Perez’s return is just the first of several off-season questions facing WVU’s roster.
Forwards Jimmy Bell Jr. and Tre Mitchell and point guard Joe Toussaint all have the option of returning for their final season of eligibility.
The transfer portal window is open until mid-May, meaning any WVU underclassman would have until then to announce their intentions to stay or transfer.
Freshman guard Josiah Davis and sophomore forward Jamel King have already entered their names into the portal.