West Virginia Basketball’s Massive Starting Center Joins Football Team For Spring Practice As Offensive Lineman

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West Virginia football has two weeks left of spring practice and recently added a new participant. As the Mountaineers look to beef up their offensive line, they didn’t have to go far!

Jimmy Bell Jr., a 34-game starter on Bob Huggins’ basketball team during the 2022-23 season, is suiting up in a helmet and shoulder pads for a trial run on the gridiron. He has been participating in football practice over the last few days after averaging 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in 18.5 minutes on the hardwood.

Bell, who stands 6-foot-10, 285 pounds, hails from Saginaw, Mich. He began his collegiate career at Saint Louis, played one season on the JUCO level after two years with the Billikens, and landed in Morgantown around this time last year.

Now that he has a year of West Virginia basketball under his belt, Bell is returning to a sport he has not played since high school. For now, at least.

Bell played football growing up and even received a few mid-major scholarship offers as a three-star prospect. Michigan State and Michigan hosted him for unofficial visits before he dedicated himself to basketball full-time.

But now he’s back!

There are no expectations for Bell. He and the staff are just going to see what happens and go from there.

Jimmy Bell is on a trial run with us. Coach Huggins and I talked at the end of March and agreed to make April a trial run.

— WVU head football coach Neal Brown

In terms of eligibility, Bell has two years left of football remaining, and one season of basketball. It’s possible that he could do both, as he is right now, while participating in spring practice and still joining his hoops teammates for offseason workouts.

It’s also possible that Bell does not return to football after the spring game April 22. Everything is up in the air and both staffs, and Bell are okay with that.

With that being said, Huggins has said in the past that he thinks Bell could be an NFL Draft pick if he wanted because his footwork is so solid. Bell has also said in the past that he misses football.

I had great feet and I was so big when I was playing football. I was like 6-8 and about 380 when I was in the 10th grade, so I was a big guy. Great feet, great hands at left tackle. I think that transferred to basketball […]

I miss football. I talk to some of the football players and they’re like, ‘If you don’t want to play basketball anymore, we could use a left tackle.’

— Jimmy Bell Jr. during basketball season

Well, sure enough, Brown needs a left tackle and he’s giving Bell a shot!

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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