The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

November 12, 2013

Rebounding, defense to be focus for WVU against VT

MORGANTOWN — All in all, when West Virginia opened its men’s basketball season with a 77-62 victory over Mount St. Mary’s, it was a solid performance from a Mountaineer team that was very much a mystery.

But if there were two areas that Coach Bob Huggins believed needed improvement, they were the two areas that have come to signify what Bob Huggins’ teams are all about — defense and rebounding.

So it really wasn’t much of a surprise when he was asked where his team needed the most work going into today’s 1 p.m. game at Virginia Tech that will be shown as part of ESPN’s season-opening basketball marathon, those two areas were cited.

Indeed, rebounding and defense are to Bob Huggins like home runs were to Babe Ruth and spinach was to Popeye the Sailor.

“We have to defend a whole heck of a lot better than what we defended, and we have to rebound a lot better than what we rebounded the ball,” he said. “Those are two things that over the years we’ve done probably better than most, and we’re not doing it as well as virtually anybody right now.

“We’re fortunate we made some shots, but we all know there are going to be some games when those shots don’t go down, so we’re going to have to stop people. What’s really disappointing is we let Mount St. Mary’s get

so many second shots and second opportunities because we didn’t rebound the ball.”

The problem with this is that Huggins is fielding a young team, and when you are doing that at the college level, the young players normally were offensive stars in high school and weren’t asked to play defense and could rebound off their superior quickness and leaping ability rather than off hard work and skill, which decides who yanks down the college rebounds.

It is something that takes a while to develop ... far longer than it does to get players to do things correctly on offense.

Huggins, of course, is not a very patient man, so there will be a number of defensive moments as the season goes on, but Huggins is looking to do better rebounding than the team did in the opener when outrebounded by the Mount, 30-28.

“We recruited Devin expecting what he did against Fairmont,” Huggins said of 6-9 freshman center Devin Williams.

Williams pulled down 14 rebounds against Fairmont State in the exhibition game, but when the statistics started counting he picked off only one against Mount St. Mary’s, a disappointing performance.

And Nathan Adrian managed just three rebounds in 25 minutes of play, which isn’t enough to please Huggins.

“Nat has good hands. He ought to rebound better,” Huggins challenged. “We are going to have to team rebound. We don’t have one guy who will get us 12 or 13, but we have been in that situation a lot of times.

“We got beat to too many balls in the first game. Our balance and our base were not very good, and too many balls were bouncing off our hands.”

WVU is hoping to get Terry Henderson back playing. Expected to start and be one of the top scoring threats on the team, Henderson missed the first game with a shin injury and his availability for Virginia Tech is uncertain.

“He practiced 10 minutes today. That’s not enough to know,” Huggins said Monday.

Eron Harris, however, felt after Friday night’s opener that Henderson would be well enough to face the Hokies.

“I’m looking forward to a good environment, a competitive game. I think Terry is going to play with us (today). I’m looking forward to playing with my sophomore teammate because I want to see how good we can be,” Harris said. “That’s another shooting threat. With the way we have been shooting already, adding another threat will be big ... and he can drive, too.”

Again the offense will revolve around point guard Juwan Staten, who not only ran the show with six assists and no turnovers, but who scored 22 points in the opener.

Virginia Tech lost its opening game at home, 64-63, to South Carolina-Upstate, with Jarell Eddie leading the way with 18 points.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • Bussie looks forward to WNBA

    On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
    It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.

    April 16, 2014

  • WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete

    The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
    Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos