The Times West Virginian

Breaking News

Bob Herzel

December 28, 2013

Huggins already making New Year’s resolutions

MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins was not going to be the Grinch who stole Christmas, and so it was he gave his team three days off for the Christmas break.

Now, though, he has them down to business getting ready for Sunday’s 3 p.m. game in Charleston against William & Mary, the final nonconference game of the season. And, it seems, Huggins is ready to push his team as it hasn’t yet been pushed.

“Maybe it’s time to take the kid gloves and you start treating them like veterans because they have played 12 games. They’ve all played and they’ve all played minutes,” he said.

Not necessarily great minutes, but this young team that had to rely on freshmen far more than it should have is past the stage of using that as an excuse for what now is a 7-5 season with three losses in the past four games, most of them close losses that could have been victories.

And that is rubbing Huggins the wrong way.

“Obviously we haven’t made the plays we need to make to win games,” Huggins said. “I could point to 10 things if we did them a little bit better we would win the game. We give up too many layups. We give up too many straight-line drives. It isn’t that we haven’t worked on it.

“We don’t rebound the ball,” he continued. “We don’t rebound the way we need to rebound the ball. We don’t finish around the rim or the goal. It’s hard when you don’t finish around the goal. We had numerous tip-ins and numerous shots around the goal we don’t make ... and we haven’t made them all year.

“That’s got to change. If the people that we’re playing can’t do it, then we’ve got to get someone else to do it.”

And that, he notes, means that freshman Brandon Watkins is going to be a more intricate part of the mix.

Watkins came off the bench against Marshall and was named the game’s most valuable player when the freshman put together a double-double, then he came off against Purdue to grab a team-leading eight rebounds while causing havoc defensively near the basket, and defense is what Huggins is looking most for now.

“We can’t continue to rely on shooting jump shots because, as we saw the other day, we’re not going to make them all the time. We wound up being 3 for 18 the other day,” he said.

“People say we lost because we were 3 for 18, but we lost because we gave up so many layups. If we had made them shoot jump shots instead of shooting layups, we probably would have won the game.

“We don’t guard. We have to start to guard and we have to start to rebound.”

That is where the emphasis now is, fixing the things that have killed the Mountaineers every time they have faced a quality team.

“There’s just so many little things that kill us. When you have guys who have been around, they do the little things these guys haven’t done. It’s not that they don’t want to do them,” Huggins said. “Playing hard and playing through things is a learned skill. I don’t think you are born playing hard. I think it’s a learned skill like anything else is.

“Competing is something you learn. I had a lot of guys who didn’t compete when I got them who ended up being great competitors when they left.”

That should tell you that Huggins will be pushing hard to get this team ready to compete by the time Big 12 competition opens with road games at TCU and at Texas Tech on Jan. 4 and 6.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU gymnast hopes to stick her final landing

    The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.

    April 17, 2014

  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball

    It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
    Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads