By now, you know that Bob Huggins undid that top button Saturday night and let most of his team have it after an 81-66 loss to Michigan. We’ve seen a bunch of these through the years, but this one was more pointed and personal than the others. He named names. He referenced incidents. He highlighted lowlights. It was 10 minutes of gloom for a seemingly doomed team.
“Let me tell you what those moves were from,” he said. “I’m sick of it. I’m sick of watching guys stand around and watching guys not compete and watching guys miss shot after shot after shot and never come early, never stay late and don’t even think about coming in on an off day.
“And they’re going to tell me they care? I want some guys who care. We’ve got a great coaching staff. We’ll coach them up.”
The words don’t sound too unfamiliar, but the intensity, and maybe the intent, was different. And maybe it has to be. Take the results lately, and the words from players and the coach after the past few games, and you can safely state that this season is in a precarious position. What Huggins did Saturday night was park the car at where the road forks.
The schedule affords some relief now. The next four are at home. There’s no travel. There’s no school. If Huggins had his way, it would be practices, games and the time in the gym before and after each. It can be good for WVU, but it’s up to WVU to make it good.
And Huggins will have a say in that. There are significant decisions to be made and options to consider and they involve Deniz Kilicli and Aaric Murray, but the roles and minutes for other players who thus far have and have not earned an opportunity going forward.
So what now? Doesn’t he have to follow up with something actionable? Does he bring Kilicli off the bench, or does that depend on Murray, the team’s only other inside presence? Don’t the minutes for Terry Henderson and Eron Harris have to be reapportioned? How long are the leashes for Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne? What in the world does he do with Volodymyr Gerun, who is lost, but who tried pretty hard Saturday and is a big body? Is this team better off playing big or small? Does WVU match up with the opponent or does WVU do what it does best — and that assumes WVU knows what that is?
And, I guess more importantly, what if the starting five is Staten, Hinds, Henderson, Murray and Kilicli? What if there aren’t noticeable changes? Does that mean players got the hint and made the proper fixes? Do you worry that won’t last? Does that make Huggins’ next rant a little more hollow?
Serious questions for a serious time, but they all go back to the title.