Continued Changes Present Different Look for WVU Basketball - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Continued Changes Present Different Look for WVU Basketball

Keaton Miles, Pat Forsythe and Aaron Brown prepare for year two with Mountaineers. Keaton Miles, Pat Forsythe and Aaron Brown prepare for year two with Mountaineers.
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MORGANTOWN -

A year ago, West Virginia basketball was preparing itself for a youth movement and the trials and triumphs that would accompany it.

Though the numbers do not jump off the page quite like they did then, the future of the program is again set to look much different than its most recent past.

The guard position is poised to be as deep as it has been since Huggins took over the program. Unlike in previous years in which Darris Nichols, Joe Mazzulla or Truck Bryant ran the show at point guard with few other options available, the Mountaineers should have capable play at both the point and the two.

Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne bring a wealth of experience from their freshman campaigns and Juwan Staten and Matt Humphrey have successful seasons of college ball under their belt with plenty of knowledge to pass around. That's not to mention the incoming freshmen and a player like Aaron Brown who played the three

"We've never really had more than the one guy who could handle the ball and last year really was the first time, but unfortunately they all were freshmen," says Huggins. "We're looking forward to it. I think we can do more things and I think certainly we can play faster than what we've been able to play in the past."

But that sort of talk existed heading into last season, as well. The faster pace, the increased scoring and an overall different look was all the players making up the roster seemed able to talk about.

The results were not nearly as distinct as they would make you believe, though certainly a fair amount of that can be chalked up to the youth and how reliant the team became on its two seniors.

Of the 71.6 points West Virginia scored per game a season ago, 52 percent came from Bryant and Kevin Jones. Both players were deferred to in crunch time, even when someone like Gary Browne proved able to hit a clutch shot if all else failed.

With that production, or security blanket as it were, departing for a chance at professional basketball, the expectation is that scoring will spread out among the players tasked with picking up the slack.

Much of the excitement within the program focuses on the two transfers, Staten and Aaric Murray. Both sat out due to NCAA regulations in year one with the program, but their teammates and coaches are well aware of what they can bring to the team after a season of watching them in practice.

"I think Staten is a true point guard," Huggins says of the Dayton transfer. "You have 190 assists in the A-10, you're a pretty good point guard. I think he's a pass-first guy, he's got great explosion and we're looking forward to him being able to push the tempo for us."

The expectations for Staten are only slighted outweighed by Murray's and a big part of that is likely due to the fact that WVU has been clamoring for a player with real size and dominance in the post.

Jones brought that sort of performance on the glass, but his success is unlike what Huggins believes Murray can achieve.

"Aaric is just big and he's long and he shoots the ball really well and I think he's going to be a factor around the rim for us that probably, quite honestly, we haven't had in awhile," says Huggins. "He's much different than K.J. He doesn't have K.J.'s strength, he runs better than K.J. and he jumps a little better than K.J."

With Murray and senior Deniz Kilicli the most experienced post presences on the team, Huggins will look to the likes of a healthy Pat Forsythe and Kevin Noreen to join with Dominique Rutledge for depth that was absent from the roster last year.

The additions and subtractions from last season's roster to what lies ahead are not quite as glaring as they were the year before, but there is no doubting that the first season in the Big 12 will present a far different look for WVU basketball.

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