The Times West Virginian

Sports

November 25, 2012

Huggins seeks better effort after Davidson

MORGANTOWN — Bob Huggins’ message for his West Virginia University basketball team after it had lost to Davidson, 63-60, in a game it should have won in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla., Friday was strongly worded and straightforward.

He delivered it to them in a long, post-game lecture in what was a quiet, dour locker room. and he delivered it publicly later as he talked on his post-game radio show.

Simply put, he said they weren’t very good, and if they didn’t learn to play hard, practice hard, listen hard and dedicate themselves to the job, they weren’t going to be very good.

“We have yet to grasp the concept that you have to play every play,” Huggins said. “You can’t take plays off.”

It sounds simple and as basic as you can get, but it takes time to get across, and when you have a new group, such as the one Huggins now is putting on the floor, a group that has staggered into the season at 1-2 with a 4:30 p.m. game Sunday against Big 12 opponent Oklahoma to close out the tournament, it can be as complicated as advanced calculus.

To make his point, Huggins recalled an incident his first year at WVU.

“We lose to Xavier in the NCAAs, and I get Da’Sean Butler and Wellington Smith, put my arm around both of them and say ‘You guys understand we lost the game because you guys took plays off,’ he began.

“They say, ‘We want to be better; we want to advance,’ so I say to them ‘You want to go to the Final Four, you want to play for the national

championship, get it in your head you cannot take plays off.’ I think the result was they took very few plays off (the rest of their careers).”

And you might have noticed, they made it to the Final Four.

Now talk of the Final Four may sound rather ridiculous at the moment, but it is always on a great coach’s mind, and he wants it on his players’ minds and he knows there are numerous ways to get there, but none without playing the game the way it has to be played … which is hard and which is smart.

“I told them in there, that wasn’t a Final Four talent team (Davidson), but it was a Final Four team,” he said. “It was a team; they played together; they did the right things; they cared so much.”

To Huggins, Davidson is an example WVU will have to follow if it is to improve and advance as the season goes on.

“This team in here (West Virginia) is not an extremely talented team. In fact, it’s not very talented at all,” said Huggins, perhaps exaggerating a bit there to make his point. “We have some guys who can do some things. Individually, we’re not very good, but can be good collectively, if we will … if we will.

“But you can’t continually keep throwing the ball up two feet from the basket and come up empty. You can’t continually come down in transition and come up empty. You can’t do that. We have to do a much better job of rebounding the ball … a much, much better job of rebounding the ball.”

Now Huggins was rolling, the images from the Davidson game pouring back into his mind.

“I mean, we’re going to miss shots. Everyone misses shots. Everyone has bad days. We have not shot the ball well from 3. We got it to down to 8 or 9. Jabarie Hinds comes down and has a wide-open 3. Wide open. I want him to shoot it, and he misses it. Fine, but let’s rebound the ball. Let’s give ourselves another chance.”

Hinds finished with eight points, missed both his 3s, shot 4 for 9 from the field.

But misses occur. What happens after a miss is what Huggins wants to emphasize. He wants them to rebound, to play defense.

“We have so many guys who miss shots on one end and come down and let their guy score because they’re worried about what happened down here,” Huggins said. “I don’t like guys missing shots as much as they don’t like missing shots. But get back and guard.

“Until we grasp the concept of playing hard all the time and until we do that we’re going to be in a whole bunch of games like we were in.”

Things that went wrong now are eating at Huggins.

“We have an opportunity to cut it to one and miss two free throws and don’t get it over the rim,” he said, referring to a pair of free throws Matt Humphrey, the transfer from Boston College with the reputation as a shooter, missed. “We have to do a better job. I have to do a better job.”

It is effort on the court, and off. In fact, the off-the-court effort might be bugging Huggins as much as the on-the-court effort.

“Like I said to them, I’m not very technologically savvy, but we have an alum who gave a great deal of money so we could get these iPads so we could put every set, what their guy is going to do, the scouting reports in a drop. It’s all on their iPad,” he said.

What good is it if they don’t learn what’s on there?

“Now I’m standing there and I can’t run a set because as I’m looking out there, I know two of those guys don’t know the set. It’s hard to make an adjustment until they know what they’re doing.”

Effort, that’s what he’s asking.

The problem, he believes, is everywhere.

“In their defense, we were going to run a whole bunch of transition stuff (this year), which quite frankly hasn’t worked out. It’s hard to run transition when your two bigs can’t get down the floor,” he said. “We’re running with our wings, but we’ve got one big trotting down and the other big following him down.

“People say, ‘Why are you doing that?’ Well, it’s because that’s all I have right now. We’re going to get more. We’re going to end up with five.”

By that he means in three more games Volodymyr Gerun’s six-game NCAA suspension for playing with professionals overseas before being recruited will be up, and Dominque Rutledge, who was not available for the Davidson game for an unannounced reason, will be back.

Email Bob Hertzel at bhertzel@hotmail.com or follow him on Twitter@bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Sports
  • Post 17 #20-Post 2 #12-ts.jpg Late rally douses Post 17’s flames: PHOTOS

    It ain’t over till it’s over.
    Post 2 Morgantown proved that against Post 17 Fairmont Friday night in the second day of action in the Area II American Legion tournament, Fairmont falling, 7-6, late to Morgantown.
    After Fairmont found itself leading 6-5 heading into the eighth inning, momentum shifted hands.

    July 26, 2014 8 Photos

  • 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

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.
    Forsey, a native of Stephenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, was representing Team Canada. She was the first Canadian to cross the finish line in the women’s 5,000-meter run, finishing in ninth place overall in 16:02.55.

    July 26, 2014

  • 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

  • Roethlisberger extension will wait until 2015

    The Pittsburgh Steelers want to reward Ben Roethlisberger for the two Super Bowls he’s already won while also making sure the talent around their quarterback is good enough to make a legitimate run at a third ring.
    Doing both at the same time isn’t an option, at least not this year.

    July 26, 2014

  • Post 17 falls late to Morgantown

    It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.

    July 25, 2014

  • Forsey posts Top 10 finish at World Championships

    Freshman Jillian Forsey of the West Virginia University cross country team finished ninth at the 2014 IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon.

    July 25, 2014

  • Pouncey brothers sued over alleged fight at nightclub

    NFL offensive linemen Mike and Maurkice Pouncey have been sued by three people who say the twin brothers attacked them at a Miami Beach nightclub.

    July 25, 2014

  • Wesleyan coach added to staff of Utah Jazz

    A basketball team in the Mountain East Conference will be searching for a new head coach.

    July 25, 2014

  • 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.

    July 25, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos