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June 17, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN- Huggins says transfers not isolated case

MORGANTOWN — Coach Bob Huggins will tell you that losing four players to transfer mode from his West Virginia University men’s basketball squad was not an unusual or isolated case.

“We sometimes here don’t see what goes on nationally,” he said in an exclusive interview. “There has been over 400 kids transfer (from Division I college basketball).”

Those who have transferred out of WVU since this past season are Keaton Miles, Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown and Volodymyr Gerun.

“You look at a program like Arizona, and I don’t like to use names, has been ultra successful, and they have lost a bunch of guys,” said Huggins. “UCLA has lost a bunch of guys.

“It’s a national deal, but people here want to act like it is only isolated here, but it is not. Kids are different today. I think the days of a Frank Young, sitting on the bench and awaiting his turn (and among others of past years), are done,” Huggins said.

Huggins, now in his 32nd year as a head basketball coach, explained that “some kids don’t get to play as much as they think they should be, and they have a tendency to transfer.”

“And sometimes, it’s not just that,” he continued. “They’re not as successful as they think they should be, and they decide to transfer. It’s always somebody else’s fault.”

Huggins ranks third among the nation’s winningest active head coaches with a record of 723 wins and 286 losses. But his team had a disappointing 13-19 record in 2012-13.

Asked whether there was any difference during his lengthy stretch at Cincinnati and his six at WVU, he replied:

“There was a huge difference. It’s been eight years ago. Times have changed. Kids have changed, too.”

Huggins recalled that he transferred to WVU in 1974, after one year at Ohio University. After sitting out a year as required by the NCAA, he was an outstanding player as a Mountaineer in 1975-76-77. He was a team captain as a senior.

“It wasn’t a bad thing,” he admitted. “It turned out that I had a great career, and I really transferred up a level.

“The guys we’re talking about transferred down a level, so I just think it’s different times with these kids and the people involved with them.

“A whole lot is different than it once was.”

He emphasized that transferring is not always bad.

“To be able to transfer and go to a place where they can play and to be happy is not always a bad thing. We want to act like it’s a thing, like the sky is falling,” he said. “That’s certainly not the case.”

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