Kilicli Trying To Help Suspended Gerun - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Kilicli Trying To Help Suspended Gerun


News broke on Monday that West Virginia University Forward Volodymyr Gerun will miss the first six games of the season thanks to a suspension by the NCAA.

Gerun joined the WVU men's basketball team this summer. He is a 6-foot-10 forward from Ukraine.

Gerun is suspended by the NCAA because it determined that prior to his enrollment at WVU, Gerun played three games on a professional team in Ukraine during the 2011 season, which is contrary to NCAA regulations.

WVU senior forward Deniz Kilicli can relate to Gerun's present situation. Kilicli was forced to miss 20 games in his first season with the Mountaineers due to his prior participation with a professional team in Europe before coming to WVU.

"He got six games," Kilicli said. "It's not that big of a deal. I had 20. I told him that whatever I say is not going to make you feel better, but everybody goes through this."

Head Coach Bob Huggins expected some sort of suspension for Gerun.

"Most guys get something just by the way things are structured over there," Huggins said.

Gerun is an entire ocean away from his family and friends. That distance is beginning to take its toll on him. Kilicli is trying to make him understand his teammates can relate to being away from home.

"He is homesick right now," Kilicli said. "You get homesick when stuff is going bad. When everything is really good you don't really get homesick. We got Noreen coming from Minnesota. It's far. It's not Ukraine, but it's still far. They don't see their family either."

Kilicli can relate better to Gerun's homesickness more than any other player on the team. Kilicli came to the United States from Turkey. Like Gerun, he is also thousands of miles away from home. Because of that, Kilicli is trying to be a big brother to Gerun.

"You just have to talk to us and that helps a lot," Kilicli said to Gerun. "I told him that I have been there and anytime he needs to talk to me, he can talk to me. I'm trying to help him as much as I can from the experience I had as a freshman. It's hard, but it's nothing you can't get over."

Imagine eavesdropping on those conversations. Kilicli's English has definitely improved throughout his time at WVU. Gerun is still learning the language.

"He has some funny problems with English," Kilicli laughed. "I had it too. I can understand him. Some guys get really shy and don't talk often because they don't want to mess up. He is not like that, so it is fun to talk to him and I think he will be fine."

Gerun is now cleared to practice with the team. He can also play in the exhibition game against Glenville State next week.  Gerun will be eligible to play in his first regular season game when WVU hosts Virginia Tech December 8.

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