The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 8, 2009

Kilicli shows skills in exhibition

WVU men roll past Mountain State, 104-82

MORGANTOWN — Somehow, somewhere, someday somebody is going to get through to the NCAA.

Maybe then college sports will be what it should be.

See, West Virginia has a first-year player, a recruit named Deniz Kilicli, big, muscular, rawboned kid from Istanbul, which last time anyone looked was in Turkey.

Bob Huggins, the West Virginia coach who recruited him out of Mountain State Academy in Beckley, believes he has himself a gem, a kid who he says “potentially is a first-team All-Big East talent.”

That, however, will not be this year because the NCAA says he must sit out the season’s first 20 games, meaning he won’t be eligible to play until the Pitt game in early February. Until then he can only take part in the Mountaineers’ two exhibition games, the first of which came Sunday, a 104-82 victory over Mountain State University.

Kilicli showed some of the stuff that Huggins says he will show as he becomes more accustomed to America and American basketball, scoring eight points on 4 for 6 shooting, grabbing six rebounds, registering a pair of assists, blocking two shots and making a steal.

True, it wasn’t the kind of numbers that Devin Ebanks, Casey Mitchell and Kevin Jones put up as they scored 19, 19 and 21, respectively, Ebanks and Jones with 10 rebounds. Da’Sean Butler put up 10 points with nine assists and nine rebounds, almost registering a triple double.

Now you may be wondering what sin Kilicli committed for the NCAA to banish him for 20 games — more than half a season. Certainly, it had to be worse than Louisville Coach Rick Pitino’s transgressions in a restaurant that led to an extortion attempt but no NCAA penalty or Kentucky recruit John Wall’s two-game penalty for taking money from an agent.

Well, not exactly.

See Kilicli played with a professional on a city team, there being no high school team available to play on.

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Bob Herzel
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