Kilicli's Words Upset Huggins Last Weekend - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Kilicli's Words Upset Huggins Last Weekend


West Virginia University Head Coach Bob Huggins and his staff have been working hard with Junior Forward Deniz Kilicli to get him to play up to his potential. Huggins called the junior version of Kilicli "light-years ahead" of the sophomore version.

Statistics back all of that up. Kilicli is playing 25 minutes per game this season versus 16 minutes per game a year ago. He has doubled his points per game to an average of 12 this season versus six last year. Kilicli is also doing a much better job of rebounding. He is pulling down nearly seven rebounds a game compared to just four rebounds per game last season.

Kilicli found himself sitting out most of the first half against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. He played just five minutes in that half. Huggins typically runs his starting five back out on the floor to start the second half, but did not do that on Saturday. Kilicli was absent from the five players on the floor to start the second half.

"I wasn't playing good, so Huggs put me out and said you are not getting in," said Kilicli.

"Deniz was awful," said Huggins. "It's one thing when you miss shots, but Deniz didn't give us any effort."

Kilicli watched the final 15 minutes of the first half and the beginning of the second half before he got the chance to go back into the game. Huggins believed Kilicli was not listening to him.

"In the last interview I gave," said Kilicli. "They said when Huggs yells at you, what do you do? I said I kind of tune out. What I meant by that is I don't listen to the censored part. I get the point and then I move on."

Kilicli assumed when he was pulled in the first half, he would get the chance to go back into the game. He learned at halftime, that might not be the case.

"After I messed up in the first half, he goes you don't listen okay, sit there then," stated Kilicli. "I didn't know what he was talking about. Then at halftime he said this is what you said in the newspaper. I said that is not what I meant."

Following a media timeout early in the second half, Kilicli chose to discuss the situation with Huggins.

"After that timeout, we talked about that," recalled Kilicli. "I said I don't care about this game right now, I care about what you think about me right now. This is not cool. He put me back in after that. I care about Huggs more than anything."

"Deniz acts like we have this language barrier and we really don't," said Huggins. "Deniz understands exactly what I'm saying. I gave him another chance because he has been pretty good. Today wasn't good. His mind wasn't here."

Kilicli did play in the second half and played with more aggression. He scored 11 of his 13 points in that half. That included some attempts at poster dunks over opponents. He missed those dunks, but got fouled in the process.

Kilicli and Huggins have spirited conversations throughout games. It is part of the learning process for Kilicli and the coaching process for Huggins. Huggins insists there are no communication issues between the two of them, "I had no miscommunication. I understood exactly what was going on. Deniz understands more than he acts like he does. Deniz is very, very bright. He understands more than he acts like sometimes."

Huggins helped close out the situation with a little impersonation of Kilcli and his Turkish accent.

"When he first got here with the professors it was like, (in a Turkish accent) language, I don't understand language," said Huggins with a smile. "That's a way of saying I really didn't pay attention when you were lecturing. If you could get me kind of what the questions are going to be on the test, I would probably do better."

Huggins is knocking on the door of 700 career wins. He has not won this many games without having an idea of how to handle these situations. It certainly appeared he was sending Kilicli a message. It will be interesting to see if the message was received.

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