Tip toes stepped aside for stomping feet Saturday afternoon and Bob Huggins got around to finally detailing his frustrations with his second-year players.
“We can’t run a set because I have guys who have been here – and this is year two – and don’t know what they’re doing,” said Coach Bob Huggins, who recruited the players and vowed to fix it after the season. “It’s totally inexcusable. They don’t have any idea what they’re doing.
“I can’t call a set unless I have certain guys on floor who know what they’re doing. I can’t make substitutions, I can’t run a set because we’re going to have one guy standing somewhere he’s not supposed to stand and screw everything up. I can’t run a set after timeouts. It’s inexcusable, totally inexcusable.”
He went on and Kevin Noreen, in his polite manner, preceded him in a similar tone in his postgame chat. I do think it’s hard to blame this nearly lost season on one thing or one group — but this one makes a lot of sense, in that it encompasses a few things.
For one, none of those players is better now than they were last year. The numbers might me up, though in most cases they are not. One skill or ability might be improved, but it’s no obvious. What matters is their roles are or were to be greater this season and not one of them has made the required leap. If WVU was to be good this season, they had to Carl Lewis those leaps.
Secondly, much like it wasn’t hard to watch the secondary goof up and get caught too shallow or not watching the ball or giving up acres of space in the football season, it’s pretty easy to watch this basketball team and see that certain people either don’t know what to do or don’t know where to go or just to the wrong things. We could have definitely done The Good and the Bad for basketball games.
Third, some of these guys shouldn’t be in the roles they find themselves in this season. One or two of them might be the best on the team at this or that, but that’s not necessarily glowing praise. On top of that, they probably shouldn’t have been in roles they found themselves in last season either, but because they were there last season, they had to be there this season.
The five players in the 2011 class were the first ones after the 2010 Final Four run. You’d like to think you cold get some keepers in that window. Two of the seven players are gone and the five here haven’t clicked, which makes that a big problem and, who knows, maybe the biggest recruiting issue to date.
Remember, the 2011 class followed the 2010 class that was a total whiff, save Kevin Noreen, who, bless his heart, isn’t in an ideal role right now. And why is he there? Well, the other three players in there class never played for the Mountaineers. That followed the 2010 class that kept Deniz Kilicli, who, eh, and Casey Mitchell, who was a factor for one of his two years.
Think this might be different if the roster had Kilicli, Dan Jennings, Dalton Pepper, Noah Cottrill, David Nyarsuk, Darrious Curry and Noreen? What if only, say, five of them were on the roster?
I say it matters, absolutely, and not merely because they’d be older and presumably better options right now (Aside: Let’s not get into the fact Jennings was a head case, Pepper never had his heart in game here and is a spare part at Temple, Cottrill had an addiction and Curry had a health problem. We know that. We know that’s a major recruiting problem and we know WVU is dealing with it now. Let’s just assume, for the sake of this conversation, they were normal, determined players, or that they were managed better and never left.).
It they’re here, if most of them are here, then you don’t have to sign seven players in 2011 and you don’t need to bring aboard all of the players brought aboard. And then those players aren’t pushed into playing time. And then they don’t have sophomore slumps.
And then you don’t have to sit here wondering who won’t be back next season, because right now, it’s impossible to believe each of the four sophomores will be back for the 2014 season.