By BRIAN CUNNIFF
The long recruiting process is finally over for Wildwood Catholic High School basketball star Taj Thweatt.
Thweatt, a 6-7 senior forward, verbally committed to accept a Division I scholarship offer from West Virginia during an official visit to the Morgantown campus Tuesday afternoon. He first announced his choice via social media.
One of the most coveted high school prospects in the state, Thweatt led Wildwood Catholic to one of the best seasons in program history last winter. He averaged 20.2 points and 10.7 rebounds and was regarded by many as the best interior defender in South Jersey thanks to his terrific athleticism and fine ability to block shots.
Almost exclusively a post player early in his career, Thweatt became more of a perimeter threat last season as a junior, sinking 34 percent of his three-point shots. He made two critical three-pointers in the fourth quarter of Wildwood Catholic’s victory over St. Augustine Prep in the Cape-Atlantic League championship game.
Thweatt was must-see basketball for many South Jersey basketball fans last season through his electrifying dunks and breathtaking blocked shots.
He also proved his mettle in the South Jersey Non-Public B title game, fiercely battling Ranney stars Scottie Lewis (now at Florida) and Bryan Antoine (now at Villanova) in an overtime loss.
Thweatt was named the South Jersey Player of the Year for the 2018-19 season by multiple media outlets.
Thweatt had received well over a dozen college scholarship offers. In August, he announced on social media that he would choose among four schools — West Virginia, Florida, Temple and Penn State. Other schools that had offered scholarships or shown serious interest included Seton Hall, Rhode Island, Illinois, Miami, UCLA, Monmouth, Bowling Green and St. Peter’s, among others.
Thweatt will play at West Virginia under one of the most well known coaches in college basketball in Bob Huggins. Although the Mountaineers finished just 15-21 overall last season, they are traditionally one of the more competitive programs in both the Big 12 and across the country. West Virginia has been to the NCAA Tournament nine times in 12 seasons under Huggins, including a Final Four appearance in 2010 and five appearances in the Sweet Sixteen.
Thweatt is the second Wildwood Catholic star to announce his college choice in recent weeks. Teammate Jahlil White, a 6-6 guard/forward, committed to Temple over the summer.