The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

January 17, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU still lacking physicality from players on court

MORGANTOWN — There was a quiet that was deafening hanging heavily over the room within the club area of the Coliseum being used for player interviews following West Virginia University’s loss to Texas Monday night.

Conversations were being held at a level above whispers but far below normal volume.

Such were the Mountaineers’ spirits having thrown out such a clunker coming off such a courageous and narrow loss to Oklahoma State just two days earlier.

Players were carrying the weight of a 10-7 record and two-game losing streak with a trip to Kansas State on Saturday ahead of them on their backs, angry that shots had not dropped for them and more angry that Texas had been too physical for them, banging the backboards relentlessly.

“We need to get more physical,” point guard Juwan Staten said after he had put forth yet another gem of an effort, albeit in a losing game. “There were a couple of times they hit us early, and we stopped going. We need to hit them first, make them feel that first blow. We need to pursue the ball. I don’t think we pursued the ball like we needed to.”

It is difficult to make this point, but not as difficult as it is for Bob Huggins to read it.

If his coaching trademark is anything, it is of putting physical teams on the court, yet this team possesses a number of good traits but physicality is not one of them.

This, of course, is partially what Huggins asked for.

A year ago the big complaint against his team was that it was more physical than athletic and that it didn’t fit the mold needed to contend in the Big 12.

Huggins promised to make the necessary adjustments in his personnel, ran off some players and brought in others and had the makings of the kind of team he wanted, one that blended speed and athleticism with a certain physicality.

But when Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton failed to qualify to play, he lost much of the physical presence he had hoped to put on the court.

Suddenly he had himself a team without an inside presence, with no force on the boards and no inside scorer.

Basketball being what it is, a game where the goal sits above everyone’s head putting a premium on height and demanding possession of the basketball through rebounds to score, his team found itself among the disadvantaged.

Texas offered a rather sizeable and physical team, led by Cameron Ridley, who performed Godzilla-like acts inside against West Virginia, and was able to dominate throughout.

The situation WVU finds itself in and the manner in which Texas manhandled the team could certainly leave them dispirited and desperate, but the one promise they made was to push on and try to turn things around.

The spokesperson for such an attitude was no less that shooting guard Eron Harris, whose own shooting slump has contributed heavily to the situation WVU finds itself in.

“I’m wondering what the answer is,” Harris said. “What’s the answer for me individually? What’s the answer for us? How can I get myself going? I’m tired of losing; there are a lot of things inside of me right now.

“But we’re not going to give up. We’ve got a long way to go,” Harris continued. “If somebody believes this is the end of the world right now, they’re wrong. We’re not going to lie down and quit. We’re going to keep going. We’re a team. We’ll keep going. That’s all I can say.”

In truth that’s all there is left to say.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Big 12 provides plenty of optimism

    This past week the Big 12 held its annual media gathering in Dallas and served up a heaping portion of optimism for the 2014 season that is now upon us, West Virginia University opening its preseason practices on Thursday.
    This is a time of year when no one has lost a game, not even Charlie Weis at Kansas, and it’s a time of year when opinions are more plentiful than tattoos in an NFL locker room.

    July 27, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU needs White to follow in former receivers’ footsteps

    A year ago Clint Trickett took a lot of grief as the once potent West Virginia offense came unraveled, but there is more that than meets the eye.
    The criticism was not unfounded, of course, although behind each incomplete pass there was the pain Trickett was suffering through to throw it, his rotator cuff in need of surgery.

    July 26, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: O’Toole joins long list of eccentric WVU kickers, punters

    The star of the Big 12’s annual football media day wasn’t a star at all.
    He intrigued the media far more than Bob Stoops, the coach of preseason favorite Oklahoma, and more than Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, the preseason player of the year.

    July 25, 2014

  • WVU, N.C. State to meet in football

    Following a trend of creating non-conference games against regional opponents, West Virginia University has reached agreement with North Carolina State to play a home-and-home football series in 2018 and 2019.
    The Mountaineers are scheduled to play N.C. State in Raleigh on Sept. 15, 2018, and then play host to the Wolfpack on Sept. 14, 2019.

    July 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Cheating pays’ remark should draw attention

    When Bob Bowlsby, the outspoken commissioner of the Big 12, presented his opening-day picture of the future of college sports in Dallas for the annual media day gathering, his bleak comments were not unexpected.

    July 24, 2014

  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads