The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

February 5, 2014

FURFARI COLUMN- West sees WVU getting better

MORGANTOWN — Jerry West, the greatest basketball player in West Virginia University history, will tell you that he hasn’t given up on the inconsistent men’s team at his alma mater.

The West Virginia native, now in his third year as an official and advisor with the NBA’s contending Golden State Warriors, watches many of the Mountaineers’ games on television at his home in Los Angeles.

“Obviously, I want to see them win,” West said in a recent phone interview. “The Mountaineers have lost a lot of really tough games to some really good teams this year.

“I understand they have some problems — real problems — at times. But I think they have some good young players there, and I see they’re improving.”

West, a three-year superstar at WVU in 1958-59-60, said he has seen the Mountaineers at their shooting best and also at their poorest. He emphasized that there’s more pressure on the players when the team isn’t shooting very well.

“When you take bad shots, they usually and normally run out on you and make easy baskets in transition,” West said. “They get wide-open shots.

“Players get fouled, or they get wide-open shots. That’s why a lot of people take 3-point shots even though they’re not open.

“It’s simply easier to play offense when you take the ball off the basket that way.”

West admittedly has seen some WVU players shoot the ball very well and some who don’t shoot very well at times — in games he has watched.

“But one thing is they really get after people defensively,” he exclaimed. “The Mountaineers generally keep games close. But they lost some really close games this year — some on bad breaks — and that takes a toll on everybody. But I’ve found that breaks even out over time.

“When that happens, it takes a toll on players and coaches. But I see those young players getting better and better.”

West said he saw a couple of recent games in which WVU could have won with “just a better break here or there.”

Meantime, Jerry West may well be tuned in when West Virginia (13-9, 5-4 Big 12) hosts No. 21-ranked Oklahoma (17-5, 6-3) at 7 p.m. today in the Coliseum.

The Mountaineers, seeking a third straight victory, face another chief challenge.

The Sooners rank 10th nationally in scoring, averaging 83.5 points per game.

The Mountaineers have yielded 70 or more points in 13 games so far this year.

This game against Oklahoma shapes up as one of the biggest for WVU in its short existence in the Big 12. Winning would tie the Mountaineers for third place with the Sooners in the league standings.

What’s more, that would end the school’s 16-game losing streak against nationally ranked teams.

So there’s obviously a lot on the line for West Virginia at home tonight. The setting hardly could be any better.

After this contest, WVU has four on the road and the other four at home remaining on the regular-season schedule.

One will be a rematch with the Sooners on March 5 at Norman, Okla.

1
Text Only
Mickey Furfari
  • FURFARI COLUMN: Wyant talks about ‘Pappy’ Lewis and other items of interest

    I saved some other interesting observations from the recent interview with Fred Wyant which you may find worth reading.
    He believes a college football coach ought to recruit a quarterback he wants, give him some help, then turn virtually everything over to him and let him go.

    July 26, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Five major sports topics of interest to area fans

    Tom Hart, a widely known retired Morgantown High School administrator and coach, continues to excel as one of the nation’s top bowlers.
    However, he told me he faces knee-replacement surgery. So he’s going to find it necessary to give up bowling during a period of rehab. Hart has competed in an amazing total of 45 U.S. Bowling Congress tournaments during his outstanding career.

    July 25, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Ex-Mountaineer track star dies; WVU athlete arrests may be concern

    I’ve learned belatedly that James Gordon “Jim” Dial, an outstanding men’s track and field sprinter at West Virginia University during the late 1940s, has died.
    He was a native of Huntington who earned All-State first team status. The Huntington High star led all scorers in the state Track Championship meets in both 1946 and ’47.

    July 18, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Jedd Gyorko running and taking batting practice now

    A report on the internet at this week’s start indicated that Morgantown’s Jedd Gyorko might be ready finally to rejoin the San Diego Padre’s starting lineup.
    He has been on the Major League’s disabled list since June 3. Problems with his feet was given as the reason Gyorko was unable to keep playing.

    July 16, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU hopes to boost season-ticket sales

    West Virginia University’s season-ticket sales for football are the lowest in nine years just two months before this season’s first home game.
    That will be on Saturday, Sept. 6, against Towson State. The Big 12 portion of the schedule follows.

    July 10, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: San Diego Padres’ Gyorko remains on disabled list

    Stringing together some odds and ends that may interest you:
    • Jedd Gyorko still is not active with the San Diego Padres. The former West Virginia University standout has been on the baseball’s disabled list for just over a month and hopes to return soon.

    July 9, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: It had to feel like ‘Ol’ Home Week’ for the Tricketts

    It might have felt like a bit of “Ol’ Home Week’ to West Virginia University starting quarterback Clint Trickett.
    His parents, Rick and Tara Trickett, were in the Morgantown area and stopped by to spend some time with Clint. They still live in Tallahassee, Florida.

    July 3, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: WVU football season-ticket sales approximately 26,000

    Stringing together some odds and ends about sports that may be of interest to you:
    • West Virginia University season-ticket sales for the 2014 football campaign have reached approximately 26,000. That’s some 2,000 since the count of 24,000 when the renewal deadline was reached.

    June 27, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown from No. 128 to No. 1

    Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s sports writer Paul Myerberg doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.
    In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.

    June 24, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN: Las Vegas oddsmakers not kind to WVU in early listings

    Not long ago, I guessed that the West Virginia University football team will go 6-6 during the 2014 football season.
    That was based strictly on a hunch. It would show at least some improvement over last year’s pitiful 4-8 finish.

    June 22, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads