MORGANTOWN. W.Va. — A day after announcing three sophomores were transferring, West Virginia basketball coach Bob Huggins described the players as “great kids” and pledged assistance as they seek new schools.

On their way out are guards Jabarie Hinds and Aaron Brown, two heralded recruits from the 2011 signing class, and Ukrainian forward Volodymyr Gerun, who signed last August and barely saw action.

According to the NCAA, some 440 basketball players transferred before last season, representing about 10 percent of the scholarship slots in Division I. Current NCAA trends show a whopping 40 percent of D-I men’s players are changing schools by the end of their sophomore years.

“I transferred and had a great experience here,” said Huggins, who graduated from WVU in 1977 after beginning his college career at Ohio. “People act like it’s a terrible thing to transfer, but those same people were probably sitting in the stands cheering like crazy for Mike Gansey,” the guard who helped WVU to the 2005 Elite Eight after transferring from St. Bonaventure.

In evaluating transfers, it’s common for programs to talk with coaches at the player’s previous school. According to Huggins, he’ll give all three departures positive recommendations: “They’re great kids, and I’ve always said that. We told each of them we’d help them in any way we can.”

Brown played in all 33 games as a freshman, but only 17 as a sophomore, averaging about six minutes per outing and 1.2 points. Gerun was suspended for his first six games by the NCAA and eventually appeared in only seven contests.

“We’ve got two guys who want more playing time, and that’s admirable,” Huggins said.

Hinds, on the other hand, was a regular, starting 59 of 65 games in two years at WVU. But he suffered through a season-long shooting slump as a sophomore when he averaged 7.4 points.

“Honestly, we didn’t have much of a conversation,” Huggins said. “I like Jabarie very much, and Jabarie and I have a very good relationship. But after a year like we had, I think if any of them don’t have both feet in, they probably do need to move. It’s going to take a heck of a lot of work and commitment to get this back to where we all want it to be.”

BROWN PUZZLED
Clyde Jones, Brown’s former coach at Penn Wood High School in Lansdowne, Pa., said the three-star recruit was puzzled as to why his playing time dipped this past season.

“It was frustrating because for whatever reason — and Aaron still doesn’t know what that reason was — he fell out of favor,” Jones said. “I would call and check on him to make sure he was still practicing hard and doing things right in the classroom, but he still never got any reason why he wasn’t playing.

“We don’t understand what happened and why he got so deep in the doghouse. As a coach, if you can’t tell a kid why he’s not playing even though he’s working hard and earning his keep, then he just must not be in your plans anymore. Or your plans changed on the fly.”

In an interview with his hometown newspaper, Brown said “I don’t know what happened’ regarding his diminished playing time.

“I went from starting an NCAA Tournament game (as a freshman) to not playing,” Brown told the Delaware County Times. “I had a thumb (injury) that kept me out of a few games. But coming back from that, I was thrown for a loop with why I didn’t play.

“Sitting out was brand new to me. I wouldn’t say it was a bad situation, but I’m used to playing.”

Jones said the news of the transfer was only minutes old when multiple schools began inquiring about Brown, who was on pace to graduate with a degree in sports management in three years. Coming out of high school, Brown chose WVU over Temple, Florida, La Salle, Rutgers and St. Joseph’s.

“At 11 o’clock (Monday) morning, my phone started ringing,” Jones said. “Schools were calling from all the way out West to the Philadelphia area.

“Aaron’s going to be fine. He’s going to land on his feet.”

Jones said this wouldn’t necessarily sour future Penn Wood High players from considering WVU, but added, “I just hope Aaron takes some time to look around and find coaches who have his best interest at heart and aren’t just giving lip service.”

OTHER DEPARTURES?
Huggins told MetroNews Tuesday he did not foresee any other players leaving, suspending speculation that junior center Aaric Murray and sophomore forward Keaton Miles would transfer.

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Comments

  • Big harv Lantz

    Bob Huggins is a terrific coach..Don't fool yourself.
    He should clean his vocabulary up some,,but don't ever question his desire for his teams, and his players to succeed...Not for his sake,,for their sake.
    Having only attended a few practices over the years(during his clinics) ..I can only say that his love for his players,,his school,,and most of all his State should not be in question..
    He is not on an ego trip,,he doesn't have to be..his credentials are hall of fame ready now..
    Blast him all you want,,that is your right...But ,,while you are doing so,,remember,,He wasn't forced out of Kansas,,he left there for the only team that meant more to him than Kansas...W.V.U..He could have stayed there and, like John Beilein,at Michigan, have a lot easier time recruiting..He would have had a much larger T.V market,a zealous fan base,,and a secure job for as long as he wanted....but he choose our state.
    You must also remember that Mr .Beilein was not forced out of W.V.U....He left because he felt he could not recruit the players he wanted..If I remember the comments attributed to him at that time..at his present school he has found it much easier to get players of a high caliber every year...Hey,,,more power to him..That was his choice..
    I, for one am proud of my state,,our school and our coach..I am so very gratetful that even though it is more difficult to attract players recruited by bigger, more publicized schools,Huggs gets his share..
    We had a bummer year for sure,,but my faith has never been stronger. Big harv

  • John

    By the way, all you pansies who think Huggs is too hard on the "kids" probably should call their mothers and cry about it. These are men that have been competing their whole lives. If a 20 year old can't handle constructive criticism without being a punk and back talking then they don't deserve to play at this level. Plain and simple.

    • DH

      well said John - i will add that these players and families know exactly what they get with Huggins... when Huggins goes on recruiting visits, I dont think he is telling recruits how laid back and easy his practices are. I dont figure parents expect their child to get special treatment from a man who is well respected in the coaching profession.

      They (recruits and families) all know what is in store for them... sometimes a coach needs to light a fire under them and put a little extra effort in their coaching styles to get a players attention.

  • Willie

    What good does it do to recruit players if you can't keep and develop them over 3 or 4 years. Players leaving the basketball program is becoming the norm instead of an exception. Something is wrong!

  • Big Larry

    Huggins' loyalists continue to give him a free pass on his terrible overall recruiting performance since arriving at WVU and the fans who question his recruiting performance are constantly reminded by his loyalists of his 700 wins and the Final 4 appearance (though they do not mention he did so at WVU with mainly Beilein recruits).

    People are so desperate to find one legitimate Bob Huggins recruit they will believe practically anything.

    Whatever Huggins is doin ain’t workin…so why don’t you all get it? While you fans sit around praising Huggins and singing “Kumbaya”…The program has fell into the depths of the Abyss and it will take years to pull out of it.

    And no, it will not improve any next year if it is even as good. Hopefully the fans will quit buying tickets so the president of WVU will force Oliver Luck to make changes.

    Pay Huggins off and lets move on without him Mr. Luck...Give us something we can once again be proud of....

    • John

      Big Larry:
      Scout ranks our recruiting class for this year at 18 in the nation and 2 in the Big 12 behind only Kansas. Rivals ranks it at 25 and I believe 3 in the Big 12 behind Kansas and Butler. Look for Huggs to take us to the top again in 2 years and then come on here and apologize to him.

      • shawn

        Larry is a classic example of why our country is the way it is these days.

      • Maxxajay

        Did not know Butler was in the BIg 12.

    • Shadow

      How do you sell WVU and Morgantown to a young man who can go to one of the more prestigious schools near his home? It is a tough sell. After that, he has to teach them. Jerry Wests don't come along every year, they are once in a lifetime in WV.

      • Mac

        Huggs apparently got a kid FROM Morgantown. You're right though, he should go to Fairmont State.

    • Chris

      Go back to the marshall boards. We don't need you.

  • Jethro

    Huggy had too many personality conflicts this season. He knows what to do.

  • cutty77

    Mr. Brown liked the Green.If you know what i mean Vern.But Huggs is doing the right thing too.Myself thinking Keaton Miles could leave and no one would miss him either.

  • Woodchuck0

    Huggins might change a few words, but you cannot match his intensity.

    I give all WVU sports a little patience given the switch to the 12 thing. The travel really showed in a lot of ways. It won't get any easier even if the ncaa allows a few changes.

    It's sad that Oliver Luck did warn the coaches about his intentions. The coaches might have recruited differently.

    Huggins is gonna stick with his winning ways. Thank you coach for keeping your feet set!

  • Shawn

    You think its bad at WVU?

    This is what you call degrading and disrespectful. Next time you want to judge Huggs then just watch this video.

    http://espn.go.com/espn/otl/story/_/id/9125796/practice-video-shows-rutgers-basketball-coach-mike-rice-berated-pushed-used-slurs-players

    • Barry

      Just because Mike Rice is terrible does not mean Huggins isn't bad. I personally hate the way Huggins treats his players. I appreciate the link and what I think it shows is how a University values money and winning over the kids that they are supposed to be teaching. Just because Mike Rice is a piece of crap doesn't mean that Huggins should be able to cuss his players. Maybe we should hang cameras in our practice facility because I wouldn't be supprised if Huggins actions are unacceptable too. Regardless of how he acts in practice it is a shame the way he treats his players in a game and the state of West Virginia deserves better.

      • wv4evah

        absolutely right

      • Mac

        Other than Mike Rice didn't win...

      • Chris

        Is that why his former players love and admire Huggs. You know NOTHING at all what you are talking about.

    • Charleston,WV

      Well said and well noted with the video!

    • Big Larry

      little shawn

      Shut up...Haven't you said enough?

      • shawn

        Haha...intelligent comment! You got me! Haha

    • gv

      Oh, so that is supposed to me feel better you moron. Gosh we have it better than Rutgers? These are now the programs that we are comparing ourselves to? The next time we judge our football program what should we watch, Army football highlights?

  • Shawn

    Never compare Catlett to Huggs....thats ridiculous! I agree that this was Huggs least talented team in his whole career and this season was ugly.

    The thing that fans and those outside of the locker room dont understand, is there where a lot of player issues this season. Huggs wont come out and start naming names but those who leave and get suspsended are usually the ones who contributed to the problems. And there are also those who leave because they dont want to play in that type of atmosphere. Its time for Huggs to put his foot down and get some kids who are going to listen and who want to be there.

    Remember, the kids who went to the final four were coached the same way as the current kids and you never heard a cross word. They respected Huggs, WVU, and the state. These current kids dont know how and apparently dont want to.

    • Chip1001

      Who won when Catlett met Huggs in the 1998 NCAA tourney. It was not Huggs. Huggs final four team was a bunch of Beilein players, basketball smart kids who won and lost as a team. No I in team.

      • shawn

        Huggs turned those kids into players. They listened and it showed.

        • Chip1001

          Thus my point, basketball smart, not street ball players.

      • Mac

        Huggs also took Cincinnati to the final four. How many final fours did Catlett have?

  • Medman

    You do not have to be very bright to notice that coaches in the top tier of the NCAA are class acts that do not repeatedly scream "what the f**k are you doing" to players during the game. Verbal abuse does not work in the work, home or sports environments. Huggins is, no doubt, a H of F coach, but he appears to be on the downside of his career and is following the same path as Gail Catlett when they both got older and more frustrated, cynical and unable to deal with less talented players. Recruiting will have to be incredible to bail this program out of an embarrassing mess. I guess we just have to swallow and take it because nothing is going to change this downward spiral, in my opinion.

    • chad

      Ever watch a Kentucky game? I've seen Callapari scream at a kid and call him a " lazy,selfish Mother Fk'er" right there live on ESPN.

    • Nobama!!!

      MEDMAN, take your mess.

    • DH

      Medman - Really? Ever see Bill Self from Kansas? Rick Pitino? Roy Williams? Coach K? Ever heard of another Hall of Fame coach named Bobby Knight?

      Medman - do you even watch basketball or do you base your opinions from Big Larry and others who post on here?

    • WILLIAM

      HUGGINS IS A JUST LIKE A BULLY IN SCHOOL. BULLIES IN SCHOOL GET KICKED OUT. HUGGINS SHOULD BE FIRED!

  • Shawn

    I heard he was a little mouthy but i also heard so is alot of the team. The big thing with Huggs is if you cant play D then you cant play on his team. Now Harris and Henderson get a pass because they can actually shoot the ball. And they actually got better as the year went on.

  • John weaver

    Anyone else think jones is criticizing Huggins with the lip service comment or should I read it as jones advising brown to beware that some new suitors will say anything to get him to transfer to their school?

  • Homer Sweeney

    My only comment about why some of the players on the WVU basketball team would be, "I don't think very many young men today could tolerate the verbal abuse and being insulted during the games. It must be humiliating to them."

    I think our young men today would rather play for a coach that doesn't conduct themselves as Coach Huggins during games.

    Coach Huggins is a good teaching coach and really cares for his players. I wish he would not respond to situations as sited above.

    • Ted

      If you do not know words like "cite" then don't use them.

      Huggins has done just fine with the demeanor you besmirch and will continue to do so.

      • tw eagle

        thank you , teacher. . .for pointing out this glaring error . . .my god , could it bring down the citadel . . .how about teacher Higgins, recruited all these young men , taught them(?) basketball , and leads them to success . . .where is the failing in this . . .HIGGINS . . .recruiter, teacher, coach . . .and then he 'beats' his players verbally for not getting what he teaching . . .his teaching and his message are not getting through . . .pack this drunkards bags , throw in a few bottles of shine , and wish him luck in his new life . . .

  • Shawn

    Good luck to those three and to those who will be joining WVU this year. I'm admire those guys fro wanting playing time and for Huggs helping them find another home. When you have a year like the one WVU did, kids get lost in the rotation and coaches start looking at what they need instead of what they have. Brown and Gerun didnt surprise me but Hinds leaving did. Good luck to them and Let's Go EERS!!!

  • chad

    Huggins bashing to begin in 3-2-1......

    • WILLIAM

      RAN AS FAST AS YOU CAN TO GET AWAY FROM HUGGINS AND DON'T LOOK BACK. HE HAS TREATED THESE PLAYERS SO BAD, I'M GLAD THEY ARE GETTING AWAY FROM THIS BULLY.

      • WILLIAM

        HIGGINS HAS THROWS HIS PLAYERS UNDER THE BUS ALL THE TIME. WHY WOULD ANY RECRUIT EVER COME TO WVU TO PLAY FOR THIS COACH? STAY AWAY, BECAUSE HIGGINS LIKE TO PLAY HEAD GAME WITH HIS PLAYERS.

        • Mac

          It's called "Caps Lock", find it. Well, I guess they should have gone to Rutgers since Huggins is so horrible to his players.