Share This Page

WVU will pick up pace on court this season

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia men's basketball coach Bob Huggins finds comfort in walking onto the court knowing his team is better than the other team.

With only two returning starters and seven newcomers on the 13-man roster, Huggins is preparing for an uneasy feeling this season. At least early on.

"When you have a young team," he said Wednesday, "there is just bad stuff going on everywhere, and you can't correct it all at one time."

The Mountaineers open practice Saturday for what could be the toughest challenge of Huggins' coaching career. It easily is the toughest challenge since he arrived at West Virginia in 2007. It took time for players to adjust to his system that first year, but they at least had been coached at the college level before.

This team boasts seven freshmen — forward Kevin Noreen, who played in seven games last season, redshirted after having knee surgery. Sophomore guard Juwan Staten transferred from Dayton and must sit out this season.

Not only will the players be mostly different, but the Mountaineers' style also will change a bit. Huggins plans to employ a more up-tempo pace this season.

Senior guard Darryl "Truck" Bryant said the entire team pressed full court during summer pickup games, trying to play as fast as possible. He said he believes that pace will be easier for the freshmen to grasp.

"I think we'll be fine offensively," he said. "It'll be harder on defense."

West Virginia figures to benefit from practicing and playing games during its summer trip to Italy, but the team has a ways to go. Huggins, in his 32nd year of coaching, said he has more patience with this team than he has had with others.

"I had no patience when I first started. I thought everybody should know what I know," he said. "I have since learned that they don't. Really, we have had a lot of patience with them to this point."

The seniors are showing patience, too. Bryant and forward Kevin Jones are in a different type of leadership role, needing to be more vocal than usual.

"It's a tough, thin line, but you have to find a way," said Jones, who was named to the John R. Wooden Award preseason top 50 watch list and could finish in the top 10 in scoring and top 15 in rebounding in school history. "You have to keep stressing to (the newcomers) how important this year is, not only for us (seniors) because it's our last year but for them just to get established."

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.