Time is ticking for West Virginia. I hesitate to say it’s running out because, as of today, the remaining schedule includes 10 games against the RPI top 100 and three against ranked teams — though that could be four if Oklahoma is ranked in today’s poll.
The point is that there are opportunities and the Big 12, fun as it has been through three entertaining games so far, is not the Big East. Road teams are 6-7, which makes home teams 7-6. There’s a chance to rally.
Yet WVU is 0-2 in Big 12 home games. It’s winless against ranked (0-3) and RPI top 100 (0-7) teams and has a bunch of those games remaining and more road games (nine) than home games (seven).
So forgive the Mountaineers if they say it’s getting late, a reality underscored by Saturday’s struggles when the game was getting late.
But, lo, help is on the way. Recruiting solves everything, right? Huggins has to recruit bigger bodies, better shooters, superior scorers and meaner spirits, no? Cross your fingers here …
Devin Williams is a big-time power forward prospect who lives and thrives around the basket and what could have been Ohio State’s is instead WVU’s beginning next season. Align the reputations of the recruits Huggins has signed at WVU and Williams is behind only Devin Ebanks. I’ll slot him ahead of Noah Cottrill, if that’s OK with you.
By all indications, Williams, who this season moved from his school in Cincinnati to play at Montverde Academy in Florida under former St. Patrick (N.J.) coach Kevin Boyle, is going to be ready and is going to help.
According to Williams, Huggins has said as much and said “that’s why he said he recruited me, because I’m a hard-nosed guy who just wants to go out there and has the will to play hard.”
And isn’t that what’s been missing? That attitude was the difference at Texas and it wasn’t missing against Kansas State. It needs to remain consistent, not only the rest of this season, but in future seasons and Huggins can recruit to that.
OK, you’re putting a lot on a freshman this way, and this season we’ve heard Huggins bemoan starting two sophomores and a freshman on the perimeter and coming off the bench first with a freshman, but Huggins sees something here.
This is a big kid, 6-foot-9, 240-pound block with big hands and nice mobility. He also wears Rec Specs. But he knows WVU wants and needs him to play hard and play right away next season, especially on defense … oh, holy cow.
“I want to say that I love defense, I love defense, but I love challenges,” said Williams, who was tasked with guarding Simeon (Ill.) star and Duke signee Jabari Parker at the Cancer Research Classic on Saturday. “I really don’t care too much for (defense), but I will play it.”
His experience guarding one of the top players in the 2013 graduating class didn’t go so well when Parker hit a pair of early 3-pointers in front of Williams.
When Williams was switched off Duke’s star recruit, the Eagles overcame an eight-point deficit and sprinted to an 82-53 win at Wheeling Jesuit University on Saturday.