The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

December 20, 2009

HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU players about to feel Huggins’ wrath

CLEVELAND — Here’s the choice you have.

You can walk barefoot across a bed of red hot coals, sit naked in a freezer at minus-10 degrees for an hour, swim across a mile-wide lake filled with hungry piranhas and angry alligators or you can show up for Bob Huggins’ first practice this week.

Not to influence you any way, but I’d take any of the first three choice — maybe all at once — before I’d show my face at Huggins’ practice … and Huggins was the winning coach in Saturday’s 80-78 game at Cleveland State.

If you’re into heroics, in the end it was a layup by Da’Sean Butler — isn’t it always him? — off a pass from Kevin Jones with 1.2 seconds remaining that accounted for the difference, but if you think Huggins was bouncing happily off the bench when his No. 6-ranked Mountaineers went to 8-0 with this victory, you don’t know Huggins.

This is a man who can find something wrong in Christmas, so rest assured when his team plays as badly as it played against Cleveland State’s press, rest assured that his reaction at the end made “Bah, humbug!” sound like “Merry Christmas.”

“I’ve tried dealing with them,” Huggins said of his players. “They’re going to have to start dealing with me.”

That, by the way, was not a threat, just a reality of life as a West Virginia player when you are playing the game the way the Mountaineers are.

And how would that be, you ask?

This is how Huggins sees it.

“We just think things are easy,” he said. “We can’t get five guys playing hard at once. I don’t think we’ve 10 minutes all years where we had guys on the same page. I’ve never had a team give up so many layups in my life.”

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Bob Herzel
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