The Times West Virginian

Sports

December 10, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN-Will Gerun be the next Kevin Jones?

MORGANTOWN — You knew right from the start, when Leslie Barton had the full house in the Coliseum on its feet for as rousing a version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as they have heard in some time, that this renewal of the rivalry with Virginia Tech was going to be a memorable day.

No one, not Bob Huggins himself nor anyone wearing the Hokies’ colors, could have imagined what would transpire, a game that would go down right to the final buzzer or the heroics provided by Kevin Noreen and Aaric Murray, who had to become outside shooters when the guards’ long-range shooting remained cockeyed.

That, of course, has been a lingering problem with this year’s edition of the Mountaineers, one exaggerated greatly on Saturday when Jabarie Hinds could hit but one of nine attempts at the basket and Gary Browne was even more off the mark with one of 10 shots made.

The anticipation of the day was that if this were to occur Huggins finally had someone who might offer some outside threat, not meaning either Noreen or Murray, but instead the newest Mountaineer, Volodymyr Gerun.

His six-game NCAA suspension, given to him for having participated professionally in his native Ukraine, a rather common occurrence with imports from that part of the world (See Deniz Kilicli sits out 20-game suspension before he can start his WVU career), was finally up and he was dressed and available for duty.

According to Huggins, Gerun is probably the best 3-point shooter on the team — that, of course, was a pre-Noreen/Murray analysis, and early on would be used for his offensive skills because there are parts of his game that have yet to be integrated into the WVU system.

“It’s been hard,” Huggins admitted, speaking of trying to bring him along while the season was in progress. “It’s a hard situation.”

The problem is that at practice you tend not to spend a great deal of time on someone who can’t play in the upcoming game.

“You can’t possibly pay as much attention to him. You only have him around for home games. He wasn’t allowed to travel. He has not been around the team, watching the film, getting the scouting report,” Huggins noted.

“He doesn’t know what those other guys know, obviously. From a knowledge standpoint, it’s hard.”

It doesn’t help, either, that there is a language barrier. Not that his English isn’t coming along, but it is not yet to the point where he is comfortable with it, thus precluding interviews with the American media.

Trying to figure out what Huggins means at most times is far more obvious than trying to dissect one of Mickey Furfari’s questions.

So it is that much of the communication and guidance is coming from Kilicli, who went through the same thing and is from Turkey, which is not far from the Ukraine.

“He’s been getting better,” Kilicli said of the newcomer. “He’s been working. It’s hard to practice when you are not playing. He is always on offense when we are running through stuff, but his offense is not going to be a problem. He has a real good offensive game.”

The one universal truth as far as international basketball goes is that every kid likes to play offense, to dribble and shoot, to run and to dunk.

It’s on the defensive side where the real players are separated from those who think they are players.

“He hasn’t been doing lots of the stuff we’ve been doing on defense. He’s smart. He will be able to pick it up,” Kilicli said.

Virginia Tech was not a good matchup, as athletic as the Hokies were and as much as they like to run the floor, turning the game into more of a foot race than a patterned game that fits Gerun best.

But make no doubt, once he accustoms himself to the surroundings and the game as re-invented by Bob Huggins, he will be a big addition, especially in that area of 3-point shooting.

Huggins calls him a “stop and pop” kind of player and compares his abilities to someone who proved himself to a pretty valuable player for Huggins.

“He’s more like K.J.,” Huggins said, referring to last year’s leading scorer Kevin Jones, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“When you think about, what K.J. did was stretch people. You had to come out and guard him,” Huggins said.

That opened up a lot of lanes for others to drive and made defending WVU far more difficult.

Of course, once Huggins is putting Gerun in there with Murray and Noreen, WVU won’t need the guards to be taking those 3-point shots that have usually wound up being fast breaks going in the opposite direction.

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