Hinds Has Coming Out Party In WVU Win Over Akron - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Hinds Has Coming Out Party In WVU Win Over Akron

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MORGANTOWN -

There's a reason Jabarie Hinds was the most highly rated of Bob Huggins' enormous freshman class. On Monday night, he showed Akron just what that reason was.

A game-high 19 points from the 5-foot-11 point guard was the driving force in West Virginia's 77-56 win in a game that was supposed to serve as a barometer for this young team.

Hinds was the spark that sent WVU on a 19-2 run to close out the half and he did it on both ends of the court. His ball handling skills and court vision made him just as dangerous as a scorer as he was getting the team into its offense and a cool 15 points led all players at the half.

He had no intention of letting Akron regain any momentum, either. Defensively, Hinds came up with two steals down the stretch in the first half to help keep the Zips off the board.

His first, he took the length of the court and laid it up effortlessly at the other end. The second he passed to a teammate for an open three.

As time ran down, just after getting his own layup, Hinds poked the ball away from Akron again and ran stride for stride with fellow guard Gary Browne down the court. Browne passed it off to Hinds, who showed his ability to share the rock on the run as he fed Kevin Jones under the basket.

He finished the game with five steals and four assists, never turning the ball over.

Through it all, Hinds remained calm, his only sign of emotion coming in the form of a couple claps as he walked to the bench for a timeout.

His play in the first half was a major factor in Akron's inability to score a field goal for the final 9:30 before the break, sending the Mountaineers to the locker room with a 23-point lead.

"Momentum was going our way," says Hinds. "I was feeling it defensively and offensively, forced turnovers, easy layups for us, everything was going our way."

The athleticism he displayed is what Huggins saw from Hinds when he recruited him out of Mount Vernon, N.Y. Despite his role as a distributor, he never shies away from driving the lane if he sees an opening.

"He ain't hesitating. Jabarie's like me. If he sees an opening, he's going to go for it," Truck Bryant says with a laugh. "No, but Jabarie played a great game tonight. Really, it was good to see him play a good game. He's been playing well overall, but it was good to see him have a good game."

Hinds has started every game for the Mountaineers this season, despite being the last freshman to join the team due to academic issues over the summer. His play at the point has been solid in four games, but never was his impact on the game felt nearly as much as it was against the Zips.

Coming into the game, much of the talk from WVU was about the size Akron had inside and how to attack a 7-foot center. Huggins said his team would go right at Zeke Marshall, he just didn't say it would go right at him with a point guard.

And Hinds hasn't always played the point, either. More of a scorer in high school, Huggins was convinced early that he had what it took to compete at the one in college.

"The first thing is that when Coach [Bob] Cimmino (Hinds' high school coach) says you are getting another Kevin Jones, that's good enough for me," says Huggins. "If you watched him play in high school, he was happy to get 12 or 14 points. If they needed him to get 30 points, he would get 30 points."

Browne believes that whatever the Mountaineers need out of Hinds, he can deliver. Monday may have been just the start of what becomes a more consistent performance from the freshman.

"We have a lot of games coming, so you're probably going to see that the whole year from both of us," says Browne. "He played great defense and he made our teammates better and he scored the ball. What else you can ask from him? He did everything."

Hinds checked out of the game with just over six minutes remaining. He was met with applause from an appreciative home crowd.

His performance is enough to give the entire team more confidence as it leaves that home crowd behind and prepares for a road trip that will be its biggest test so far this season.

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