The Times West Virginian

Sports

January 30, 2013

HERTZEL COLUMN-Murray shows up in defeat

MORGANTOWN — Back there a couple of years ago, when the word came that tall, lean Aaric Murray was transferring from LaSalle to West Virginia University, the presumption was that he would sit out the required season, play one year for Bob Huggins to prepare himself for the National Basketball Association draft and then move on.

The best-laid plans ...

That has changed and now, it appears, Murray may return next year for what would be his senior season.

“I was thinking about that yesterday,” Murray said late Monday night after having his finest game of the year, scoring 17 points with seven rebounds against No. 2 Kansas in a near upset that he almost engineered. “I don’t want to leave like this, so I’m not leaving, I guess.”

What he meant by saying he did not want to leave “like this” was that this has been an up-and-down season, one in which he has never really fit in, an inconsistent year where he would rub his coach, Huggins, the wrong way, and Huggins would do the same with him.

Murray understood there was much to learn, but it often appeared as if maybe Huggins’ teaching methods weren’t right for him.

True, he leads the Mountaineers in scoring at 10.0 points a game, the only double-figure scorer on the team, and is tops in rebounds at 6.7 per game and in blocked shots with 31 while also being the best 3-point shooter on the team.

But he averages only 22 minutes a game and is coming off the bench, indicating that there is much production being left on the sideline.

The Kansas game was a perfect example. Murray got off to a dismal start ... and Huggins is blunt in the way he lets him know about it, as well as the media and the rest of the world.

“He was miserable to start the game. He was terrible defensively; he was terrible offensively, and I got him out,” Huggins said.

This wasn’t unusual. He and Murray have been going back and forth all season, Huggins trying to draw more and more out of Murray and Murray reacting in various manners to the prodding the coach would be doing.

“He was sitting there and I said, ‘If you want to play, just tell me. We are not going to do this,’” Huggins reported. “To his credit, which I give him a lot of credit, he came back and played pretty good and played with some enthusiasm and I think, for him, played pretty hard.”

This was important to Huggins, for it showed some growth for Murray and showed that Huggins might finally be getting through to him.

“I think, earlier in the year, he probably wouldn’t have responded that way,” Huggins said.

This, Murray admits, is true.

Huggins, you see, takes some getting used to, and it has, perhaps, taken Murray this long to figure that out.

“You can’t let coach get to you,” he said. “If he’s yelling at you, you can’t be listening to how he says things instead of what he’s saying. I think I was listening to how he was saying it and worrying about him and not about playing the game. I have to play the game.”

A player who pouts or who takes a coach’s criticism personally will have a much rougher time of it, and Murray seems to be more of a sensitive type athlete who might take Huggins’ harsh criticism personally.

Huggins, of course, doesn’t want to hear about psychology. In fact, when asked if part of the problem with Murray’s development might have been found in his approach, his answer was — well, typical Huggins.

“Here’s what I could answer. Are you asking me if I have taken some of the ignorant stuff he has done personal? No. I know that. I don’t know what he thinks,” he said.

What Huggins does believe is that Murray’s progress was retarded last year from a broken hand that kept him from practicing with the team and, through that, going through the type of interaction with the coach that he is now going through.

That is why the process has been slow.

“I don’t think they learn much by osmosis standing on the sideline,” Huggins said.

It would appear that Murray needs an additional year before heading off to attempt to play in the NBA, a year to grow stronger and improve his offensive game.

Huggins isn’t sure what Murray will do.

“That is yet to be determined. I don’t know what to tell you because I don’t know. Now is not the time of year we have those conversations,” he said.

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

1
Text Only
Sports
  • NMHS #28 PITCH -TS.jpg Pitching pushes North past Monarchs in game two of doubleheader: PHOTOS

    North Marion coach Vic Seccuro wanted to send a message to his team, telling them to focus, bear down and grit out a victory.
    After falling 13-8 to Braxton County in game one of a Saturday doubleheader, the Huskies bounced back to beat John Marshall, 4-2, Saturday at North Marion High School.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • EFHS #21-OG #11-TS.jpg Bees split with Oak Glen on Senior Day: PHOTOS

    Twice on Saturday the East Fairmont softball team found itself leading Oak Glen 3-1 in the seventh inning.
    The situation was the same in both games of the doubleheader. The way the Bees’ handled it, though, was quiet different.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • NMHS #14, 21-RC #14-TS.jpg Lady Huskies fall to Ritchie County late, 5-4: PHOTOS

    It couldn’t have happened the way it did even if No. 6 Ritchie County had drawn it up.
    The bases were loaded. There were no outs. And by a swing of bad luck a fly ball was dropped in the outfield as two runs came across to score, propelling the Rebels to a 5-4 win over No. 9 North Marion in the final game of the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School Saturday.

    April 20, 2014 5 Photos

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Watson tees off a new century at The Greenbrier

    You knew this was going to be one of those unpredictable, memorable days when you drove into the Greenbrier Resort and headed to the Old White Golf Course and found the best parking place in the joint.
    As Bob Uecker would say, right there in the front rooooow.

    April 20, 2014

  • Arrest warrant out for WVU recruit

    West Virginia University’s newest men’s basketball recruit, Tarik Phillip, has an order out for his arrest in North Carolina, according to a story in The Dominion-Post, which said three Gaston County Magistrate office spokespersons confirmed.

    April 20, 2014

  • WVU baseball powers past Oklahoma, 9-5

    The WVU baseball team tied a season high with 18 hits to defeat Oklahoma, 9-5, on Saturday afternoon at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
    The win gives the Mountaineers their second Big 12 series win of the season and improves the overall record to 19-16 and 4-7 in conference play. Oklahoma drops to 25-16 overall and 5-7 in Big 12 play.

    April 20, 2014

  • Blue Jackets edge Pens, 4-3, in double OT

    Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday night.

    April 20, 2014

  • Braun homers twice, rallies Brewers over Pirates, 8-7

    Ryan Braun hit two homers, including a two-run shot with two outs in the ninth inning that sent the Milwaukee Brewers over the Pittsburgh Pirates 8-7 Saturday night.
    Braun has five home runs this season after being suspended for the last 65 games of 2013 following Major League Baseball’s investigation into the Biogenesis drug scandal.

    April 20, 2014

  • NMHS #14 hit.jpg North Marion goes 2-for-2; Fairmont Senior 0-for-2 in tournament

    A day after an 11-0 mercy-rule victory at Philip Barbour, the North Marion Huskies were at it again.
    Chelsi Latocha threw three no-hit innings, Shelby King drove in five runs in the first inning and the Huskies rolled to a 20-0 victory over the winless Fairmont Senior Polar Bears in the Diamond Dawg Tournament at North Marion High School.

    April 19, 2014 6 Photos

  • Brewers’ Lohse beats Pirates again

    Kyle Lohse pitched effectively into the seventh inning, Carlos Gomez homered and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-3 Friday night.
    Lohse (3-1) improved to 11-2 in his career against the Pirates, allowing one earned run in a win against them for the second time in six days.

    April 19, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos