The Times West Virginian


December 23, 2012

HERTZEL COLUMN-WVU’s Murray steps game up after suspension

MORGANTOWN — A week ago, Aaric Murray was in a state of suspended animation, so to speak, his teammates in Brooklyn trying to figure out a way to beat the nation’s No. 3 team, Michigan, without him.

They couldn’t do it. Probably wouldn’t have done it if he were there, although they have been a different team and he has been a different player since, winning two straight, the second one being a hard-fought 72-62 victory over Radford on Saturday before a gathering of 7,073 at the Coliseum.

Murray’s sin was hardly one of gigantic proportions, certainly not as many had said it coming because coach Bob Huggins was displeased with his effort.

“If I didn’t play everybody who didn’t play hard I’d end up playing my managers … and I’m not about to do that,” Huggins said.

“Aaric’s situation was different than not just playing hard. He said it in the papers today. He showed up late. You’re not going to show up late — and it wasn’t a lot late — and play the next game. That’s just a lack of respect for everybody involved.”

Huggins was almost flabbergasted that anyone would show up late for a team function.

“I can’t ever remember anyone being dumb enough to show up late. That was a first,” he said.

Then he stopped to think about it for a moment.

“Come to think of it, Dom (Rutledge) was late last year, and he didn’t play either,” he said

Suspensions, of course, are done for many reasons by coaches, mostly though to motivate a player, to get him to fall in line and do the things he is supposed to do and do them as well as he can do them.

Many coaches use psychology, study each player to find out which buttons to push to get what they want. Should be tough on them or easy, a stern taskmaster or a kindly, forgiving approach?

Huggins doesn’t get into that very much. He believes in discipline and he hands it out as only he can, be it time on the treadmill or time on the bench.

He said it was best explained to him once by Jerry Tarkanian, “Tark the Shark” of UNLV fame, who knew enough about what he was doing to win a national championship, even if he may have cut a corner or two to put the team together.

“There’s only one pie,” he said Tarkanian had said. “We don’t have any more. We’ve only got one, and that pie is playing time and so-and-so is going to get way more than this other guy if he earns it.”

Huggins said Tarkanian went on to say, “They’re all going to get pie, but some guy may get a piece of pie that’s 30 times bigger than another guy because he earned it. You know, there’s only so much pie and you can only cut it up so many ways.”

He said he understands that, but he isn’t sure just how to cut his pie up with this team.

“My problem is, I don’t know who wants any pie,” he said. “You’d think everybody wants pie, but seemingly some of our guys … I don’t know, they’re good guys. Maybe they just want to share.”

Murray, however, since coming off his suspension acts as if he were Simple Simon as he was introduced to the pieman.

He’s playing hungry.

And well.

The truth is he is making the Mountaineers a different entity, and maybe not as advertised.

The word was that Murray was a shot-blocker and a rebounder, a kid who had the potential to score but wasn’t really known for that aspect of his game.

He was a 6-10 player who wasn’t really a post, but who could do some things.

No one said that at 6-10 he could play 5-10 if he wanted.

In this victory over Radford, his line was downright amazing.

He led WVU with 21 points while also leading in rebounds with 8 – tying Rutledge – and in blocked shots, even though he had only one.

But he led in assists with four, as many the top two guards combined, and in steals with three of the five WVU had.

Assists? Steals?

He even took four 3-point shots, double the total anyone else attempted, but he made none, although he has proven he can do that, too.

“We all know he’s a talented kid,” Huggins said. “He’s learning how to play harder for a longer period of time. Honest to God, he’s been coachable since we got back from Michigan. He’s trying to do what we ask him to do.”

Had he learned a lesson by the suspension?

“I don’t want to talk too much about it, but I definitely learned my lesson. I will not do that again,” he said.

Not when he was able to cap off Saturday night’s dinner with some pie. In fact, he earned pie a la mode in this game.

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

Text Only
  • EFHS #11 PITCH -TS.jpg Bolander no-hits FSHS in 1-0 win: PHOTOS

    Jacob Bolander is known affectionately by his East Fairmont teammates as “BoBo.” After his performance Thursday, the Bee baseball team might have to change that nickname to “No-No.”
    The right-handed ace tossed a no-hitter against No. 3 Fairmont Senior in a 1-0 win over the cross-town rival at Mary Lou Retton Park.

    April 25, 2014 8 Photos

  • m #14- W #91, 44 sack-ts.jpg White tops Maroon in spring game: PHOTOS

    As spring games go Thursday night's annual Maroon and White clash at Fairmont State's Duvall-Rosier went pretty much to form.
    The White (defense), using a modified scoring system which awarded them points for stops, turnovers, three-and-out series and other things, recorded a 34-21 victory over the Maroon (offense).

    April 25, 2014 7 Photos

  • FSHS girls’ lacrosse wins on Cancer Awareness Night

    “Ring around the rosey, a pocket full of posies. Ashes to ashes, we all fall DOWN.” 
    With that last word, “down” filling the air around East-West Stadium Thursday night, Fairmont Senior put a new play into motion and scored one of its 17 goals on the night in a 17-2 win over visiting Wheeling Park.

    April 25, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: WVU depth chart sends messages

    Perhaps the most impressive thing about the depth chart West Virginia University put out at the end of spring practice was that the coaches were able to put out a depth chart, which certainly is an improvement over a year ago when the Mountaineers were really short on quality players.

    April 25, 2014

  • WVU baseball hosts K-State in Big 12 clash

    The West Virginia University baseball team will host Kansas State in a key Big 12 Conference series thisweekend at Hawley Field.
     Game one begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, game two begins at 4 p.m. on Saturday and the first pitch for game three is set for noon on Sunday.

    April 25, 2014

  • Pirates’ slide continues in 2-1 loss to Cincinnati

    The Pittsburgh Pirates are five games under .500 less than a month into the season but they insist there is no reason to panic.
    Ryan Ludwick lined a two-run double after two Cincinnati batters were hit by pitches, lifting Tony Cingrani and the Reds over the Pirates 2-1 on Thursday.

    April 25, 2014

  • Morgan Hoke -ts.jpg Polar Bear tennis sweeps East: PHOTOS

    Last week East Fairmont’s girls’ tennis team beat Fairmont Senior, 4-3.
    Wednesday at Fairmont State University, the Polar Bears returned the favor with a 5-2 win over their cross-town rival.
    Alissa Link won No. 1 singles, 8-4. Morgan Hoke won No. 3 singles, 9-7. And Avery Towns won No. 4 singles, 8-5, for the Polar Bears.

    April 24, 2014 8 Photos

  • Falcons set for spring game

    Football is back … well, kind of.
    Today at 7 p.m., Fairmont State will hold its annual Maroon & White spring game at Duvall-Rosier Field. The scoreboard won’t mean a whole lot since it’s little more than a glorified scrimmage. Instead, here are five things to watch during today’s game.

    April 24, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: NCAA football is thriving in the digital age

    The other day Baylor football coach Art Briles walked into his graduate assistants’ office and had to laugh at what he saw.
    “There’s five guys sitting in there — a couple of GA’s and some office personnel — and they all are within a foot and a half of each other and not a one of them is talking to each other,” Briles said, describing the scene “Every one of them is on the phone.”

    April 24, 2014

  • Hillberry commits to Wesleyan

    Last year Emma Harrison and Kaitlyn Conaway teamed up with Alexis Hillberry to win several relay medals at the state track meet.
    Though the two West Virginia Wesleyan runners are now in college, they helped to pass the baton to Hillberry Wednesday when she signed her National Letter of Intent to join her former teammates on the Bobcats’ track team.

    April 24, 2014

Featured Ads
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos