WVU coach is ignoring Big East downsizing
College Football Videos
West Virginia coach Bob Huggins arguably offers the best quotes among Big East Conference coaches. He's unorthodox, witty and brutally honest about the breakup of what's been regarded as the best basketball conference in the country.
Asked about the recent departures of Pitt and Syracuse and how those losses will affect the remaining schools in the Big East, Huggins responded that life goes on and that he doesn't worry about things over which he doesn't control.
"From the way I understand it, they are going to be in our league for a while, so it doesn't change from our standpoint," Huggins said last week. "We will play them this year and next year.
"In my eight years at Cincinnati, I was in three different leagues, so I am a veteran when it comes to league switching. When I was at Akron, we went from the Northeast Conference to the Mid-American Conference, and never played a game in the Northeast Conference."
Huggins said it bothers him that football, not basketball, drives conference realignment that led to Pitt and Syracuse joining the Atlantic Coast Conference, and blamed his coaching peers for the breakup.
"It is all our fault," Huggins said. "When you put basketball coaches in a meeting, we can't agree on anything. We have Division III coaches in our meeting that don't have any idea what we do. We have Division II coaches in our meeting that don't have any idea what we do. Then you have so-called low majors, mid-majors and high majors, which all are different. Seemingly, everyone protects their own interest. We haven't done a very good job of that."
Regarding the fate of his own team, Huggins, two years removed from his second career Final Four appearance, was no less candid.
West Virginia returns three starters from last year's 20-11 team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. It's a blend of old and new, with a roster featuring seniors Kevin Jones and Darryl "Truck" Bryant, junior Deniz Kilicli and eight newcomers (including seven freshmen).
"When you have eight newcomers, there are bad things going on everywhere," Huggins said. "When you have two or three freshmen, it's not too bad. Kevin knows what he is doing. Truck knows what he is doing, and Deniz knows what he is doing. When you have a young team, there is just bad stuff going on everywhere and you can't correct it all at one time.
"Three years ago, we had three freshmen in our top six. If it is just three freshmen in the top six, you can figure it out. It is just kind of difficult right now. It is going to be a challenge."
Huggins said he will showcase the skills of Jones, Bryant and Kilicli, while leaning heavily on their veteran leadership.
"(Jones) is going to be our leader," Huggins said. "There is no doubt about that. He just has to continue to do what KJ does, and that is making open shots and rebound the ball. He is our best defender. He is a three-man that can guard the five.
":Bryant) will be our best perimeter shooter. He will be our most consistent perimeter shooter. He is going to be a more productive force offensively without having all the responsibilities of a point guard.
"(Kilicli) is a lot better. His skill level is better. He just needs to continue to buy in. He had to make strides in rebounding. Jerry West's statue had as many rebounds as him. We need him to go to that next level."
Show commenting policy
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.
- Starkey: Stupid Steelers
- Steelers running backs Bell, Blount will face drug charges
- It’s only exhibition, but these Steelers could solidify roster spots vs. Eagles
- New Kensington slaying victims identified
- Kiss’ makeup has changed, but their impact remains strong
- Brentwood man chronicles battle with haunted house
- Pitt sophomore Coles leaves football team
- Westinghouse could provide reactors for Utah nuclear site
- Husband of Butler County day care center operator charged with molesting children
- Commitment by Steelers’ Gilbert pays off
- Pittsburgh Comedy Festival puts area’s growing comedy base on display