E Kentucky West Virginia Football

WVU head football coach Neal Brown looks on during an NCAA college football game against Eastern Kentucky in September 2020, in Morgantown.

MORGANTOWN — Danger! Danger, Will Robinson!

As it was on the long-ago television series “Lost in Space,” I have been lost in space with too much time on my hands as West Virginia University moves into the summer hiatus of its sports calendar.

That can only be dangerous because it leaves time to think and, worse yet, form opinions.

So why not share some quickies with you?

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Sean McNeil would be making a big mistake if he stays in the NBA and misses out on what could be his last season at West Virginia.

True, the man can shoot at an NBA level ... but he has to remember he hasn’t played at a very high level of basketball until he got to WVU.

One more year can only smooth his game over in such areas as defense — which showed a lot of improvement last year — and ball handling.

Yes, he can play in Europe but it’s more than doubtful that he can play in the NBA and, if he really wants to make a run at the NBA he has to do so by laying the foundation this year on a team that will play more like an NBA team than it ever has.

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I keep trying to find fault with Neal Brown, for that’s what you’re supposed to do in this sports writing business, but I find very little.

While I don’t know what goes on behind closed doors, I suspect it’s pretty much a case of what we all see is what the players get.

He is a player’s coach who has their success foremost in his mind, even over his own.

He has changed the WVU culture, which needed to be changed after Rich Rod and Dana Holgorsen, and made the football team a huge part of the university and the state.

What’s more, he’s elevated the recruiting — I don’t know yet if he has it where Rodriguez did at the height of his run, a time when they were really challengers for a national championship — but to the point where he has brought in better athletes and better people being challenged to be good citizens along with being good football players.

That is a win-win situation.

In the end, of course, it has to show up in the Big 12 standings for the school has too much money invested in the program and him and his staff to not have a contender, but it is looking that what worked at Troy for him will work at WVU, too.

Now for the bad news. That worked to get him hired away from Troy, so WVU may find itself having to fight to keep him after this season or next.

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I think we all grew up with Texas as a major factor in football but I’m beginning to wonder if they haven’t let that slip through their fingers.

No way they should, with the resources they have, but they are being challenged in recruiting in their own football rich state, not only by all the schools that live and breathe football there, but by out of state schools now coming into the state and whisking away many of the top players that once would listen to no one if Texas offered.

Not sure Steve Sarkisian, the new Texas coach after prepping at Nick Saban’s knee, can turn it around and I’m not alone. Athlon’s pre-season football magazine quotes an anonymous opposing coach questioning his move there from Alabama.

“There are a ton of questions here long term,” the coach said. “Why make this move? It doesn’t seem like you’re doing anything fundamentally different. Texas’ problems are all off the field and inside their culture, and I’m not sure this is the coach who can fix issues that only Mack Brown seemed to know how to handle.”

Sounds like this guy is saying if Sarkisian doesn’t work out they ought to go after .... say, Neal Brown?

That almost wants to make you root for him to succeed ... but it’s hard to find anyone around here who wants the Longhorns to win at anything.

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Speaking of Alabama, our own Nick Saban just received an eight-year contract extension, Why not just make it a lifetime deal? Or did they. He’ll be 77 when it expires in 2028?

Saban turns 70 this October and will be 77 when the contract expires and said last October that he had not had a thought about retiring yet.

You can bet for the rest of the SEC, 2028 can’t get here soon enough.

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Jon Rahm is having to withdraw from the Memorial Tournament with a six-shot lead heading to the final round due to a positive COVID-19 test. This should serve as a warning to all of sports to make sure they do what they can to keep testing and to proceed with caution as they attempt to return to normalcy this fall.

It’s important to America that we put safety first but and that means we all have to be part of it, making it safe to attend the games at full capacity and be safe to play them.

I think we all missed attending games far more than we thought we would last year. Television is great, but it isn’t like being at the game itself if for no other reason than you don’t have to listen to banal banter that comes from the oversaturation of sports on TV, meaning play-by-play and color commentary by people who are completely incompetent.

One of the major effects the pandemic had has been on broadcasting, where you have had broadcasters not on scene doing games and separated from the athletes so they have been unable to gather up those interesting anecdotes that you know what kind of people the players are and what they go through on a daily basis.

Not having access to athletes has turned sports writing into a rather boring business because you can’t do on a Zoom call what you can through personal, one-on-one interaction, leading sports writing and broadcasting into boring statistics rather than human interest approaches to athletes and the games they play.

Follow @bhertzel on Twitter

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