Kevin Noreen Makes Most of First WVU Start - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Kevin Noreen Makes Most of First WVU Start

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CHARLESTON -

Just before the team arrived at the Civic Center, Deniz Kilicli's ankle injury became public knowledge. But Kevin Noreen had known for two days that his first career start awaited him in Charleston.

"I got my nerves right and was ready to go," Noreen said after the game. "I probably won't score like Deniz, but I have to create plays for other guys and I think Truck [Bryant[ and K.J. [Kevin Jones] did that tonight."

The redshirt freshman prepared himself for the extended minutes and the added pressure of being on the court at the time of tip off.

It took over four minutes for WVU to make a field goal and it was Noreen who got it started with back-to-back layups. 

Support from his teammates was evident as those on the bench started shouting out one thing or another about "Big Sweat," Noreen's affectionate nickname.

"Kevin did a great job," says Kevin Jones. "I just told him that we don't need him to be timid. We need him to go out there and be aggressive because he has the ability to go out there and make things happen on the court. Once he started doing that, I think we started playing better as a team."

Noreen knew he couldn't come in and be Deniz Kilicli. No one would want him to be anyway. He has a different game than the Turkish junior and if he played within himself and those abilities, he could help the team.

By doing what he does, as Bob Huggins would put it, Noreen was able to contribute to West Virginia's early success and help the team sustain its dominating performance in the second half.

"I thought he did a great job," says Huggins. "He gives us some things Deniz doesn't give us, quite frankly. He passes the ball and he's got a good understanding. Deniz knows what he's doing, obviously, but Kevin passes the ball, keeps the ball moving for us and I thought he did a good job rebounding the ball."

Noreen finished with five rebounds and six points in a career-high 29 minutes. But perhaps the more significant factor that allowed him to be successful isn't something that shows up on the stat sheet.

If Noreen sees a loose ball, he's diving for it. He doesn't care who gets in his way or how many bodies pile on top of him after he hits the deck – he wants that ball.

For a guy who doesn't make it look as effortless as some on the court, his effort is key. His teammates feed off the energy he brings and his willingness to do whatever it takes to help out.

"When you see him out there, you just know the hard work that he puts into it," says Jones. "He's the hardest working guy in the gym and you just like to see guys like that succeed. Just to come out there and see him be successful, it was a great feeling."

Some freshmen, like WVU's Jabarie Hinds and Keaton Miles, know what it's like to have their first career start right off the bat. It's not typical, but with the talent level out there getting younger and younger, it happens. Noreen got his out of necessity, but still, it's an important milestone.

"It was a good feeling," says Noreen. "It just felt like, ‘Oh, I'm finally here, I got my goal. I'm a starter for the game.' It's something that I'm proud of right now, but now I'll get focused on Cincinnati."

Saturday's game against the Bearcats could be another start for Noreen with Kilicli's status still uncertain. It will be another opportunity to prove himself after a solid debut in the lineup.

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