Welcome to the Friday Feedback, packing its bags and almost at the start line for the 2013 football season. The Big 12′s media days begin Monday and practice starts Aug. 1. It’s coming. The all-conference team and the poll were the appetizers and make for interesting food for thought.
It’s hard to quibble with the all-conference team because, man, those things are not easy to assemble. The poll is a little easier and thus more fun to pick apart. Six teams got a first-place vote in that thing, which speaks to a certain parity you ought to prepare to hear a lot about this season. Oklahoma State as the predicted champion makes enough sense — the Cowboys will be very good on offense and much better on defense. I’m only surprised by where we find Texas and Oklahoma, though I know the composition of the electorate can have something to do with that.
In a way, though, much of the suspense is over for the Mountaineers. Their media day will be uneventful and probably more aggravating for them than anything else because the questions and the attention they’ll be subjected to is just not what they’re used to. It’s the beginning of the changes they’re about to experience.
Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, please prioritize. (Aside: Monty Grow!)
Well color me surprised.
The question that now hangs over the basketball program is, “How many in the current recruiting class do not make it onto the court or do not finish out their time in a WVU uniform?”
I realize this is worth words only, but I’ve heard encouraging things this week about Holton and Macon getting good news. And Dibo is listed in WVU’s student directory now.
More of the same for Huggs and co. I can’t say I’m surprised. I guess Sweat is going to start now? Macon still isn’t enrolled, right?
I like Huggs, but he really needs to break this hard downward trend the program has been on since the final four.
I can’t see him putting a good team on the floor for another 2 years at least.
I really like Harris and Henderson. I like Sweat’s heart and hustle, but he has a low cieling. Other than that, what does this team have going for it? A bunch of new misfits to make chemistry that much harder to develop?
I think the conversation has to change if/when Holton and Macon make it to campus, at least as it relates to the concerns you have about talent. Without them — and I’m not hailing them as saviors — it’s a thin roster without much height or muscle. And that’s discouraging. I don’t know, but right now it seems the real worry is about who you don’t have as opposed to who you do have. You can stress about the latter later.
The 25314 said:
I’ve lost faith in Huggs in the status quo. I think he needs to hire an entirely new staff. There are no Frank Martins or Mick Cronins or Andy Kennedys on this staff.
What do they say? You can’t fire the players? It’s something Huggins has to have considered.
Dr. Love said:
I think Huggs believed that Murray had NBA talent and went the extra mile to try and cultivate the guy’s potential. It is sad for Murray. Youth is sometimes wasted on the young.
Yeah, I have a hard time grilling Huggins for taking a shot on a 6-foot-10 center who can shoot and block shots. I just wonder how WVU recruited the kid, twice, and either didn’t know about or never learned how to manage all his issues.
Down South said:
Last year was a terrible season with a roster full of miscreants and players with minimal talent. An anomaly in Huggs’ otherwise stellar career. And so he blew up the roster afterwards. I’m sure he would have liked to have kept Murray, but apparently he wasn’t willing to get with the program. It doesn’t strike me as the end of the world or a sign that things are headed in the wrong direction. To keep it in perspective, I thought about how upset I was when I heard John Beilein had dismissed Drew Schifino. That situation worked itself out okay. Sometimes players make you better when they show up and sometimes players make you better when they leave.
I can see that. There were certain things that couldn’t continue, but you’re going to have people who are mad about problems and then mad about solutions. I think Huggins wanted it to work for Murray, but I suspect there wasn’t reciprocation.
I honestly never saw the “talent” that Murray supposed had. 6’11″ isn’t talent. He was slow up and down the court (although not Deniz kid of slow), had one post move which was rarely effective, had slow feet on defense and frequently got beat, and never figured out how to screen or switch off screens. it’s unfortunate he couldn’t harness the skill he had and get himself together off the court as well, but I really don’t see this loss as a big deal……aside from an extra 5 fouls to give (which could be a big deal).
How much of that is related to effort, though? There was talent, but there wasn’t a proportionate amount of effort.
Read through this blog post and count the euphemisms. I’m guessing that Aaric Murray has done things that are reprehensible prior to arriving at WVU and while he was at WVU because . . . well . . . look where he’s been and where he’s at. Yet, in the sports world, these things are described as “susceptible to other elements” and “a habit of being a distraction.”
I wish that the coaches and media would state specifically what the player(s) actually did because I would imagine it would typically surprise most of us.
It just reminds me of how when a player graduates with a degree in a meaningless (and brainless) field and is described as “getting it done in the classroom” yet when a player gets straight F’s (often in the same meaningless and brainless field), he’s described as simply having “difficulties in the classroom.”
Those things are specifically stated. I listed a bunch of his transgressions and others were written about in the linked-to articles. And we’ve talked about a lot of it before. Not sure what else you want there.
Brandon Watkins is going to have to become a man very fast.
That leaves two vacant scholarships now with no certainty that Elijah Macon will be enrolled for the fall semester. They could be entering the season with only 10 non-walk-ons on the roster. Yikes!
Needing Macon and Dax Miles to make their scores.
No way Miles makes it. I’m not convinced his verbal commitment is a real thing, either. I think he thinks it is, but I’m not sure sure WVU does.
Mike … really …. you need help in figuring out why Bob Huggins has to heavily recruit the world of head cases, barely qualifying (if they qualify) players, and whatever else it is that he brings in?
Start here. http://deadspin.com/5902766/was-bob-huggins-drunk-at-a-coaching-clinic-the-other-day
Consider some other “events.” Look at in game behavior. And tell me that this guy is not an easy guy to negatively recruit against. You can’t do it with a straight face.
I would be happy for him to get it together. But I’m not counting on it.
Valid. No use denying that. I’ve been asked about that alleged incident in a few gyms the past year.
Imagine you are a blues guitarist who has relationships with club owners throughout a particular region of the country. You can always get gigs even if some of the venues aren’t top-notch and because of your drawing power you can hire the best sidemen which in turn makes you look good on stage. Some may question the relevance of the blues in the current decade but it’s always worked for you so the critics are to be ignored.
Now imagine someone snatches your guitar out of your hands, gives you a saxophone sends you off to another region of the country where you don’t know the clubs or the owners and tells you break a leg and don’t forget to smile on stage.
As you may have already surmised, the guitarist is Coach Huggs and the network of clubs and owners are the coaches, schools, AAU types, and anyone else with whom he’s worked over the years. His calling card, even while at UC, was to focus on the Eastern Seaboard (read: NY metro area). To close the deal, he would dangle the magic words ‘Big East Tournament at MADISON SQUARE GARDEN’ in front of a recruit and watch the eyes get big. Now he gets to sell long hours of travel to some desperate, dusty, remote outposts and the icing on the cake is, er, Kansas City.
Some of his problems are unquestionably of his own making but he’s fighting war on multiple fronts:
1) Recruiting in and for a different league that openly declares its football hegemony
2) Dealing with a difficult, almost foreign, crop of sullen teenagers rendered socially awkward by their reliance on electronic devices rather than normal human interaction; a generation which values the fleeting YouTube moment above all other forms of long-form individual and (especially) team achievement; an emotionally-stunted generation that views the most trifling disagreement or conflict as ‘disrespect’ worthy of a tantrum, pout or quitting the team. Watch archival footage of interviews with a young Oscar Robertson or Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabaar – they can bat out full sentences and express a thought quite eloquently at times. Today’s hoops mercenaries cling to sporting cliches about execution, playing our game, etc. like a drowning man to a log.
3) College basketball continues to endure its abusive relationship with the NBA where even marginal players attempt to whipsaw their coaches by threatening to leave for the pros and, in far too many cases, wind up in some developmental league backwater without a prayer of making an NBA roster and still 2-3 long years away from a degree.
Interesting to pick blues, but good points all the same.
I’m guessing HCDH is pissed. Just my guess though. So much for keeping the kid’s ego down. Squirt just got ownership of the WR meetings. If only in his own head…
Personally, I can’t wait to ask Thompson about it. Hopefully he remembers it that far in the future.
Some ballers on that list. Dorchester has to be tight as a drum until August 1. If these guys all come, talent will not be our problem….chemistry could be but why not think optimistically.
Let’s Go Mountaineers!!!
Rank the prospects in the 2013 class and Alford, Howard, Hyman and Golson are probably high on that list. So, sure, just a little pressure.
Bobby Heenan said:
What kind of wizardry is this where the vast majority of the class qualifies? Can Dorchester send his formula over to the Coliseum?
Huggins hasn’t hard problems getting them in. Even Cottrill made it in. And let’s see all those kids make it on campus first. A 100 percent rate would be shocking.
I “expect” my son to take out the trash. Doesn’t mean it always happens.
Clarence Oveur said:
Does Dorchester get an XBox achievement unlocked for NCAA 14 if he achieves 100% enrollment?
There has to be something. A fourth uniform, perhaps.
WVU Sports Marketing Players Present: Death By Adverb
In this gripping whodunit, the cast members logistically respond to the apparent murder of one of their own and operationally and logistically attempt to identify the killer who has left a mysterious scrap of paper with ‘LY’ written on it. Are they initials or is it a cryptic protest against the fifty-cent bureaucratese which aims to mask uncomfortable truths among the survivors?
Serendipity is a wonderful thing. Matt Wells needn’t worry about a tortured delineation of the alcohol-free zone; there will be many of them spontaneously generated throughout the stadium. Unfortunately, they will also be spectator-free zones i.e. large swaths of empty seats. Perhaps they will come up with a catchy name such as the Leg Stretching Enclosure and extract a fee from those who wish to recline.
As my uncle points out, West Virginians (regrettably) have extensive experience in coping with economic hard times as they reduce their discretionary spending. Saturdays are not exempt from the realities of the rest of the week.
I know it’s difficult, if not impossible, for writers to track down the innumerable, interminable off-season murmurs among the fan base but the initials OL can be heard in many conversations and I don’t think they’re talking about the offensive line.
I think this is why I don’t care to write about season tickets and the like. People are bent out of shape about stuff, but there is no fix. None. Prices will go up and people will be squeezed. That’s the way it’s going. I confess: It’s a boring story.
People are grossly underestimating Charlie Weis once again.
Not sure if serious.
Clarence Oveur said:
Now you’ve got me wondering. When has WVU met/exceeded/fallen short of expectations?
Thanks to Stassen.com, there are preseason conference consensus polls from 1993 onward. The rankings provided by Stassen are aggregate from several college football publications, so they do not necessarily reflect the picks made by the media in the individual conference preseason polls.
How has WVU fared?
1993: 4th place preseason; 1st place finish (exceeded)
1994: 4th place preseason; t-3rd place finish (met – 3 teams finished above)
1995: 2nd place preseason; t-4th place finish (fell short)
1996: 4th place preseason; 4th place finish (met)
1997: 4th place preseason; t-3rd place finish (exceeded)
1998: 1st place preseason; t-2nd place finish (fell short)
1999: 4th place preseason; t-4th place finish (fell short – 4 teams finished above)
2000: 6th place preseason; t-5th place finish (exceeded)
2001: 6th place preseason; 7th place finish (fell short)
2002: 6th place preseason; 2nd place finish (exceeded)
2003: 5th place preseason; t-1st place finish (exceeded)
2004: 1st place preseason; 1-1st place finish (fell short – no BCS)
2005: 3rd place preseason; 1st place finish (exceeded)
2006: 1st place preseason; t-2nd place finish (fell short)
2007: 1st place preseason; 1-1st place finish (met – BCS)
2008: 1st place preseason; t-2nd place finish (fell short)
2009: 2nd place preseason; t-2nd place finish (met)
2010: 2nd place preseason; t-1st place finish (met – finished behind UConn)
2011: 1st place preseason; t-1st place finish (met – BCS)
2012: 3rd place preseason; t-5th place finish (fell short)
Fallen short of expectations 8 times (40%).
Met expectations 6 times (30%).
Exceeded expectations 6 times (30%).
Fallen short of expectations by more than one place in the standings 2 times.
Exceeded expectations by more than one place in the standings 4 times.
Fallen short of expectations for a 1st place finish 4 times.
Met expectations for a 1st place finish 2 times.
Based on this 20-year sample size, I think there’s some credence to the notion that WVU fares better as an underdog. They’re fallen short of expectations more often than they’ve exceeded or met. However, only 2 out of 8 times did WVU fall well short of expectations beyond one place in the standings. Comparatively, of the six times WVU exceeded expectations, 4 of them could be characterized as significantly exceeding.
I think what this data shows is that WVU usually is right around where it should be in terms of expectations. However, when WVU does exceed expectations, it’s a fair bet that they’ll do so in significant fashion. The good news with this is that when WVU falls short of where it is expected to finish in the standings, it usually doesn’t do so by much.
I think much of the idea that WVU fares better as an underdog is in the 4 out of 6 times that WVU has failed to meet expectations of a 1st place conference finish. However, one problem with expectations of a 1st place finish is that you can’t exceed it. There’s one less outcome and that makes for skewed results.
So some years it’s good to meet expectations, and some not. Some years it’s acceptable to fall short of expectations, some years it’s not. It all depends on what the expectations are.
Solid. I’m taking more days off of work if this is what I get in return. Actually, the whole comment threat was great yesterday. Stay in form. I’m gone late next week.
Well, Mack, Hyman obviously lacks experience, but I think the coaches hope his teammates on either side will deflect enough impact at the point of attack to ensure that the defense, though somewhat elastic, will not rupture against the rather insistent offensive thrusts that are sure to come his way in conference play. The idea is to repeatedly frustrate the Big XII offenses looking to go all the way such that they eventually peter out.
I don’t see the humor, either.
Enjoy the weekend!