As you probably know by now, neither Truck Bryant nor Danny Jennings was in uniform for Saturday’s 82-66 victory against VMI at the Charleston Civic Center. When this sort of thing happens — and with WVU basketball, there always seems to be something, be it bizarre driving habits, unseemly public conduct or mere eligibility — people cconstruct all sorts of theories as to what happened. And sometimes those people are wearing tin foil hats.
This particular incident seems pretty simple. Bob Huggins is not a hard coach to play for. His players revere him during and after playing for him and speak quite sincerely about how he prepares them physically and mentally for basketball and for life. But it’s hard to play for Huggins, in that it’s not going to be easy. It’s not supposed to be easy.
Please note the difference. If he were a hard guy to play for, it’d imply he’s a bad guy. If it’s hard to play for him, it implies he seeks to prevent bad habits. If he were a hard guy to play for, people wouldn’t respect him as they do. If it weren’t hard to play for him, his players and teams wouldn’t be so tough and, as such, successful.
Right now, it would seem as he tries to bring a group together not long after a Final Four appearance and the subsequent summer-long affection fest, he’s not at all pleased with players who believe it should be easy to play basketball at WVU.
“We’re not making the progress we need to make,” Huggins said.
“We don’t go hard everyday. We’ve got guys all the time that want to take practices off and not go hard, and don’t want to listen.
“We’re not going to do that under my watch. I’m going to play the guys and coach the guys that want to get better and listen. We’re going to do things right. I want to coach guys who want to learn.”
Huggins indicated Bryant, who averages 11.3 points per game, and Jennings were not suspended. But he did not specify when the players would return to the court for the Mountaineers.
“Anybody who doesn’t come in and try to get better every day, there’s no sense in them playing,” Huggins said. “We are going to survive. We work too hard, we play too hard, we have guys that care too much not to survive.”