Huggins Anticipates Full Roster for Season's Start - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Huggins Anticipates Full Roster for Season's Start

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MORGANTOWN -

West Virginia University basketball represented in the Pittsburgh Pro Am Summer League, but the Mountaineers are made up of more players than the ones who actually showed up when the games tipped off Monday night.

Some of those missing were veterans, players who sophomore Eron Harris joked thought they were too good for a tune up against other college athletes in the area. Junior forward Kevin Noreen is listed on a roster, but didn't show up on the first night. The same can be said for incoming freshman Elijah Macon, but his status with the team is far more uncertain.

Macon, who failed to qualify in time to join WVU a year ago, is again causing concern this summer as he is the only freshman who appears to have questions regarding when he will enroll in classes.

Then there are the junior college transfers Remi Dibo and Jonathan Holton, neither of whom have made it to Morgantown.

Head coach Bob Huggins, asked Tuesday if he believes he will have all of his roster enrolled in time for the start of the fall semester, answered optimistically.

"We do. I don't know that it's going to be the start of this next session, because we've got mini sessions and a lot of it depends on, particularly for the junior college guys, what classes go toward their major and so forth," Huggins said on Tuesday's Big 12 coaches teleconference.

The timeline is in doubt, but Huggins continues to say publicly that he thinks each of the members of the 2013 Mountaineers will be ready to suit up once the season begins. It's all a matter of time, but still, there is reason for concern.

Much of that concern is due to a 13-19 campaign that lost a lot of confidence in Morgantown as WVU transitioned to a new conference with much higher expectations than the disappointing results showed.

"It was a big learning experience," Huggins said of year one in the Big 12. "From trying to figure out the best way for travel, and I know the league is on board with trying to help us some with the travel issues that we have. It's just a different style of league than the one we came from. I think, obviously, with that, the officiating was different. And I think a year in and knowing a little bit better what to expect, hopefully we'll be a whole lot better equipped to be able to do a little more things certainly a whole lot better than we did a year ago."

Huggins watched his program undergo a sort of exodus with four underclassmen transferring in addition to the three seasons who moved on. The result is that there are new faces across the board and many inexperienced players who will be counted on to come in and make an immediate impact.

What gives the head coach a sense of optimism with this year's unit, though, is that he is molding them to play in the Big 12, rather than last year's, which was made to compete with teams in the Big East.

"The style that we had in the Big East was just a whole different style," said Huggins. "This is more a league where they spread you, more a penetrate and pitch league. I think the Big East had a classic look five men, where I think by and large in the Big 12, people played smaller. It was more of a skilled league."

The skill on the court is one thing, but Huggins remains impressed with the other men who will roam the sidelines as coaches in the Big 12.

With the addition of Tubby Smith at Texas Tech, the league now sports six head coaches who have taken a program to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. It's a great deal of experience and success and a major reason why the Big 12 will prove to be difficult for the Mountaineers again in their second trip through the double round robin schedule.

"It makes it hard," said Huggins. "I don't know if there's ever been another league ever that had 60 percent of their coaches had coached in the Final Four. That's extremely impressive and of course a few of those guys have actually won a national championship. Tubby reminds me of that virtually every time I see him, so I know he has won one."

Huggins, of course, is looking for his first and trying to get his team back to where the program was in 2010 when the title was just beyond his grasp. With many of his players in the gym every day and up in Pittsburgh for the summer league action, the folks in charge of the teleconference told Huggins his time was up and he was free to get back to preparing for the season… Or whatever he's up to this summer.

"Oh no, time's out?" Huggins said with a playfully sarcastic tone of disappointment. "Okay, I'm going back to fishing. Is that all right?"

Well, sure, Huggs. Go ahead. We'll just say he's still celebrating West Virginia's 150th birthday. 

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