Huggins Says New Players Address Needs - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Huggins Says New Players Address Needs


The West Virginia University men's basketball team is coming off a less than spectacular season. WVU finished the year 13-19 and did not make it into any postseason tournament.

That is unacceptable to Head Coach Bob Huggins and everyone associate with the program.

"Anything less than 20 wins next year is unacceptable," WVU Forward Kevin Noreen stated.

With those words, Noreen is beginning to assert himself a leader this offseason.

"I think anybody being a leader would be a tremendous step forward," Huggins said.  "We just didn't have one this year. If Kevin will do that, that would be a big boost to us."

A leader would be a great start for this team. Someone needs to do the job of holding their teammates accountable. NCAA rules restrict how much time coaches can spend with their players in the offseason. That is why players need to hold other players accountable.

"It has to be more than one guy," Huggins explained. "It has to be a bunch of guys getting in the gym. When you get a bunch of guys in the gym they tend to drag those other guys who are not quite as excited about getting into the gym into the gym. That's what has happened in the past."

The players were given two weeks off following their loss to Texas Tech in the Big 12 Tournament. Upon their return, Huggins will meet with his team individually to give them their list of things to work on throughout the offseason. Three players did not want to wait to begin working on their game.

"I just walked in to see you and looked down in the gym," Huggins explained. "The three people that were in the gym were Eron Harris, Terry Henderson and Kevin Noreen."

Perhaps nobody on the team gives as much effort on the floor as Noreen does. That effort landed him in the starting lineup more often than not this past season. Harris and Henderson stepped up and commanded a lot of minutes as freshmen. Both of them started at one time or another throughout most of the season.

Gone are three seniors in the form of Matt Humphrey, Deniz Kilicli and Dom Rutledge. Four new players are signed and will be making their way to Morgantown in the next few months. These new players are expected to play early in their careers.

"I think they are going to have to do more than fit in," Huggins stated. "I think they are going to have to play some significant minutes for us."

One common theme among these new players is size. Huggins' roster is adding some size.

"Elijah (Macon) is 6-foot-9," Huggins said. "He's got some bounce and can run. We are looking for big things from him."

WVU did not rebound the ball last season as well as it has in the past. That needs to improve and Huggins believes he found the answer.

"We are looking for big things from Devin (Williams)," Huggins stated. "I think he may be arguably the best rebounder in high school basketball. That was an area we were not very good at. I think Devin is a guy who will consistently rebound the basketball for us and hopefully rebound it at the next level after this. He has great strength and great hands and he pursues the basketball."

Huggins is also adding Morgantown's Nathan Adrian and Brandon Watkins next season.

"Obviously we had a hard time shooting the basketball," Huggins said. "Nathan Adrian is a guy who comes in and gives us great size on the perimeter but can also make shots. Brandon (Watkins) is 6-foot-10 and is long and runs and is active."

One thing a rough season can do for a coaching staff is clearly show what the program needs to improve. West Virginia believes it has addressed its needs with the incoming class.

"I think most people feel that way," Huggins stated. "What is exciting to me is I think they have great upside. They will continue to get better and better and better. Nate and Brandon bring things we didn't have. We didn't have a 6-foot-10 guy who could really run and light and active on his feet. We didn't have a big guy like Nate Adrian that could step out and make shots the way he can make shots. I think they bring things we didn't have that we really need."

Those math wizards reading this notice that four players are coming in with only three leaving. Huggins did not say how he is making room on the roster. It is widely believed that at least one current player will transfer.

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