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October 18, 2013

Gold-Blue Debut set for today

MORGANTOWN — West Virginia University basketball fans can get their first look at their new-look basketball team at 7:30 p.m. today with the Gold-Blue Debut at the Coliseum.

Admission to the event is free with gates opening at 6:30 p.m.

A 40-minute officiated game between the Gold and Blue teams will be the centerpiece of the evening that includes a slam dunk contest, the introduction of the men’s players and staff, a speech from Bob Huggins and an autograph session with the team following the event on the Coliseum floor.

Additional events include highlight videos and performances from the Mountaineer pep band, cheerleaders and dance team.

Parking is free,

“You should be able to get in and out of the parking lot great,” Huggins said, jokingly, considering that it is Friday before the homecoming football game and with spaces already limited by the arrival of Fox Saturday College Tour, which will air from the Coliseum lot on Saturday.

WVU is completely retooling its style after a difficult transition season moving into the Big 12, Huggins suffering through his first losing season since he was at Akron as a rookie Division I coach.

“I’d like to say we’ll play really hard and be really physical, but I think they are outlawing the physicality. I don’t know how physical we’ll be allowed to be.

“We’ll be more perimeter-oriented than we were last year,” Huggins said. “We’ll probably be more like we were my first few years here before we got Deniz (Kilicli) and some of those inside guys. I think the bulk of our scoring will come from the perimeter whether it’s our perimeter guys shooting shots out there or our interior guys, because that’s what we’re good at.”

WVU will go into the season, it appears, without its two top recruits as Elijah Macon has been declared ineligible and probably would not have been able to play due to injury, while Jonathon Holton’s situation has not yet been clarified for Huggins, leaving him ineligible at present.

Holton can practice with the team and is expected to take part in the scrimmage.

WVU also has a completely closed scrimmage from which no information is allowed to be made public next week at Ohio State.

Huggins said both the Gold-Blue Debut scrimmage and the one at Ohio State are badly needed by his young team that is expected to be led by forwards Eron Harris and Terry Henderson and guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne.

“We haven’t run up and down at all,” Huggins said. “We need to scrimmage. It’s just that with all the new guys we’re doing so much teaching we haven’t had a chance to run up and down the court much.”

Midnight Madness seems to be a thing of the past.

“I thought the Midnight Madness, in its inception, was really good, but it ran its course. We did it one time where they had people at five or six sites and people at those sites. We had Robin Roberts and Dick Vitale at our place. It was a pretty good deal,” Huggins recalled.

“There were some issues raised about what time of night it was and when it was ending and those kind of things, so they changed the rule to where you could start at 5 o’clock. I thought the fans would enjoy a scrimmage more than watching us in a 3-point shooting contest.”

Among the newcomers to watch is Morgantown High graduate Nathan Adrian, who has been displaying a killer outside shot in practice.

“I’ve always been confident shooting the ball. It’s the one thing I’ve always tried to be my best at,” Adrian said.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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