Among the worst kept secrets about WVU’s worst habits is the increasingly visible trouble passing the ball.
It fills out the swarm of turnovers. The Mountaineers are giving away a quarter of their possessions in Big 12 games and opponents score just short of a quarter of their points in Big 12 games off turnovers. That’s crippling for team that doesn’t shoot or score very well.
Think things might be different this season if those numbers weren’t so alarmingly high? Bob Huggins does.
“Sometimes I think our guys are colorblind,” he said. “We have a tendency to just throw it to the wrong team at times. Live-ball turnovers have killed us. We just have not done a very good job with ball security.”
But this isn’t as much about turnovers as it is passes. Turnovers happen and there are a list of ways to commit them. They’re all preventable, but completing passes is perhaps the easiest way to steer clear of danger.
And that’s WVU’s problem, one that isn’t limited to just giving the other team the ball.
Never mind the vertical, horizontal and angled passes against pressure or the skip passes around and over a zone. Look past the ones that go to an adversary or a even spectator.
Try hard to ignore the incomprehensible difficult inbounding the ball from any spot on the floor during any part of the game – and never was that more apparent than the first Baylor game.
Just watch WVU try to make the very simple passes that often hit a teammate in the foot or the shoulder or cause the recipient to jump, reach or lunge. It stalls an offense that isn’t good enough to play without the advantages of passes.
“My dad used to say all the time, ‘Pass the ball, don’t throw the ball,’ ” Huggins said of famed Ohio high school coach Charlie Huggins. “I’ve tried not to be my dad, but I find myself saying, ‘Pass the ball, don’t throw the ball.’
“I guess it’s kind of one of those deals where the older you get, the smarter he was, but we throw the ball. We don’t pass the ball. We made passes (Saturday) where there was nobody in the vicinity.”