Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins pledges to produce a longer, more athletic team next season that can improve on two years’ of drab defensive performances.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Bob Huggins has a new hip and an old yearning for defense. He thinks both will allow him to enjoy next season.

During Tuesday night’s appearance on MetroNews “Sportsline,” Huggins blamed himself for overvaluing offensive-minded players the past two years, which he claims led to West Virginia’s defensive malaise. In 2013-14 the Mountaineers ranked last in the Big 12 in field-goal defense (44.7 percent) and eighth in points allowed per possession. That followed the 2012-13 season in which WVU ranked next-to-last in both categories.

The aggregate two-year results: a 30-35 record and no NCAA tournament berths.

“I didn’t do a very good job of holding those guys who made shots accountable at the defensive end,” Huggins said. “We didn’t guard and we didn’t stop anybody, and the problem with that is when you miss some shots other people tend to go on runs.”

With three of five newcomers enrolled, and holdovers Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton set to become eligible this season, Huggins foresees a return to those taut defensive teams that trademarked his career.

“I think we’re going to be able to stop people,” he said. “We’re faster, we’re longer and I think we can do some more things than we did before at the defensive end. … We have tremendously increased our athleticism, which we needed to do. The Big 12 is a pretty athletic league.”

Freshmen Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles are on campus, along with Moberly (Mo.) Community College signee Jaysean Paige. Two other junior college additions, point guard Tarik Philip and small forward Billydee Williams, will arrive “within a week or so,” the coach said.

Following the transfers of sophomore double-digit scorers Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, the presumption was one of the juco signees would win the shooting guard job next to All-American candidate Juwan Staten. But that might be premature.

“Jevon Carter has played very well,” Huggins said. “He has shot the ball better than anybody on our team.”

RECRUITING FOR 2015 … AND BEYOND
As coaches begin their summer evaluation period, West Virginia has two commitments for the 2015 class—point guard James Bolden of Covington, Ky., and center Levi Cook of Huntington Prep—leaving at least one spot available.

The Mountaineers have yet to receive a commitment for 2016, when at least three scholarships project to come open.

“We need a big, obviously, and I think we need another skill guy—somebody who can eventually evolve into Juwan Staten’s role,” Huggins said. “Then I’d really like to have a 6-7, 6-8 guy who’s like Da’Sean Butler.”

HE’S STILL STANDING
The 60-year-old Huggins celebrated one month since having his right hip replaced June 9, a surgery he delayed for several years for fear of tackling the rehab.

“It just got to the point where I wasn’t very functional,” he said.

Huggins used a sideline stool last season after it became too painful to get up out of the folding chairs on the bench. Now he has started biking and is regaining mobility in the leg.

“It hurt for a while. I guess when they saw your leg in half it has a tendency to hurt,” he said. “Now I can actually lift my leg up—I don’t have to pick it up with my hands.”

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Comments

  • WV Grad

    Promises, promises. What about performance?

  • cutty77

    I wish Huggy the best,because he has and always will be a Great Friend of mine. But i think he is at The end. The end sneaks up on everyone of us. I want Bob to go out on Top,but i think it has passed him by. Hope I'm wrong on this. Father Time waits waits on no one.

    • Made the T-Shirts

      Bob and I have been very tight for years. In fact, I have been there, done that, with him and am now still trying to recover from the damage I have done to myself. He is an extremely important part of my life and I think that in the end, he sneaks up on himself and on all of us. I want Bob to be the tops but in likes walking around in his bottoms so "it be what it be". Time has passed and I am not wrong so his father, Time Huggins, waits for him two times and on no one. I can't go on because I make to much sense.

      • OKANYDAY

        cutty77 made some great points, but "made the T-shirts" sounds sort of stupid or on a crying drunk one.

        • Bought Some of Those T-Shirts

          Agree with Made...cutty made no sense...check out the grammar...and I liked the parody...he's just fun'in...get a life. Besides, all caps is not just sort of stupid, it is stupid...and speaking of stupid, "or on a crying drunk one" refers to what? Why not "or on a crying drunk seven, or fifteen, or say, ninety nine?

  • Baldeagle

    While you're at it coach…loose some weight please!!!

    • Jim Kinzer

      where should he let it loose?

  • Baldeagle

    While your'e at hit coach…loose some weight please!!!

  • Baldeagle

    Who wouldn't want a 6-7, 6-8 guy like Da'Sean Butler. If it were that easy then Da'Sean wouldn't be special and as we know, he is very special.
    Yes Larry, you are entitled and I have no problem with it…sometimes your right. I just hope your man enough to admit your wrong when your wrong because…sometimes your wrong.

    • Aaron

      DeSean was a marginal 2 to 3 star recruit coming out of high school.

  • Big Larry

    I hate it when the Bob Huggins supporters, loyalists & sympathizers insult my intelligence...

    If anyone hasn't noticed (or forgotten), In the past two (2) seasons the WVU Basketball and Football programs under the direction of Oliver Luck, have come crashing down to earth in dramatic fashion.

    You are what your record says you are. What that means is that neither program is very good right now. In West Virginia hillbilly slang English...

    "They stink to High Heaven".

    Yes, we all hope they get better however wishful thinking and making 100% pro WVU comments 24/7 like WVU paid troll "Aaron"... is never going to change anything.

    I'm sorry I have to be the one to spell it out for you but there are so many who don't seem to "get it" and never will "get it".

    Like those delusional fans who are predicting a win over Alabama. What in Heaven's sweet name are those people thinking?

    My prediction is not 8-4 like so many others but 4-8. It is what it is...

    Anyway, that is just my opinion and I think everyone is entitled to hear it.

    • Mister Man

      No one can insult what you don't have.

    • FNP

      Frankly nobody cares about your opinion. And you sound just like somebody who comes from Huntington/Ohio. Yes i lump those together because they belong together.

      You are a pessimist who likes to get people fired up. Some of these people like to engage in back and forth comment wars with you and they all get the best of you.

      You are simple minded and have been so since beginning your unintelligent comment war on here.

      I do think WVU is very capable of winning 8 games this year just like they were last year. The team was super young, got hit with injuries which doesnt help with no depth and we had no leaders.

      All of those problems are being solved in Morgantown. Just do us a favor and stay off the comment section. You embarrass yourself.

    • Aaron

      How can one insult that which does not exist?

      • Big Larry

        Oh it exists all right...

        • Aaron

          You should take the comedy act on the road. You would make nickels and dimes...

          • Steve

            Nickels and dimes is probably much more than what he is making from those welfare checks he uses to pay for Internet service so he can troll and comment on every single WVU article that comes out. Typical Marshall fan big Larry is.

        • Rtdeco

          Wow, you destroyed Aaron with that comeback..... Yikes you're quick!

  • squad

    I get the feeling the if this team comes out and the new guys don't get beat off the bounce out of the box then maybe his o vs d tradeoff talk has some truth to it. a big gripe for hugs teams here was that they couldn't score-we got guys that could score but they also didn't really want to play D. Henderson was ok, Harris was lousy at times.

    I do know one thing though. If, given the defections, Huggs has a successful season this year (and looking at our pound-ball front line, we very well may) these guys are going to both look dumb transferring out where you have this kind of size and athleticism going on inside. what a shooters dream! whoever wins the shooting spot will benefit from the inside game we'll have this year with Watkins Williams Holton and Macon-- this with reserves Nate and Sweat off the bench. When Huggs does indeed do well this year there's gonna be lots of people with some egg on their faces.

  • Aaron

    It seems that when Coach Huggins came to WVU, he inherited a few of the type of players he likes and combined them with his recruits and the result was a Big East Championship and a Final Four berth.

    Anyone who's watched him coach and thinks he does not understand the game or that it has passed him by is speaking from a biased opinion, not intelligence as he is clearly one of the better game coaches around. His bringing in quality 4 star recruits also quells the notion that he cannot recruit.

    With a re-emphasis on defense and the leadership of JuWan Staten, I see this team improving despite the defections. This year, we will see 20 wins and a return to the NCAA tournament.

    • Matt T.

      Most of the comments on here are ridiculous!!!

      WVU Basketball has the THIRD ACTIVE WINNINGEST COACH IN AMERICA......

      People say Huggins has lost it....yea right. The problem is today's kids are soft, therefore they transfer!!!!

      I agree with you Aaron - 20+ and back to the NCAA.....

  • FNP

    Big Larry is the guy who comments on his comments with different names throughout the whole day. Get a job dude.

  • WVU FAN

    First off, I am glad to see Huggins up and on his feet & secondly I would like to see chairs for taller people on WVU side line it is too funny watching these tall athletes with there knees up to there chest while sitting down ( I understand the fans need to see the floor and that is why we put our coaches & Athletes in small chairs)

    Okay, WVU Basketball has been down for the last two years for one reason and the one reason alone... players not knowing their role and not excepting roles that fit this team. They did not want to do what was best for the team. We had way to many kids who knew the game better then anyone else... (NUMBER #1 REASON did not play as a team on the floor) To many kids did not know there role on this team or didn't except their roles... This could have been because they did not know one another too... (the starting five were not gym rats with one another) I remember one thing Bob Huggins said that changed my life and it was "if you love doing something " you find away to make it work" working harder at something you love is happiness...right? if you love it?

    Let's GOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!
    Mountaineeeeeeeeeers!!!!!!!!!!

  • WVU Fan

    Big Larry does seem to have intelligence issues.

    • Dave

      That's an understatement. He would have been Dumbest if there had been 3 guys in that movie.

  • FNP

    Get behind your team and shut up. If you don't like what we have then stop watching and following. Nobody cares.

  • Big Larry

    More BS from the great one Bob Huggins...

    Its summer for crying out loud...Do we have to hear and read about the pledges of a delusional Bob Huggins?

    • Jim Kinzer

      asks why he has to read or hear about WVU basketball.............

      walks to computer, gets on internet, goes to WVMetronew.com, chooses sports section, chooses WVU Sports Section

      Voluntarily reads this article......

      • Big Larry

        Here's the thing Jim...

        I never read the article. Because I knew it was more foolish delusional talk from the great one.

        Very rarely do I read the comments from Huggins but I do read the Titles...

        Besides, what's it to you anyway?

        • Jim Kinzer

          so you foolishly admit to expressing an opinion on a matter you're not even aware of? Congrats on that one, Mr. Jeffords

    • rick

      dumb comment. shows intelligence.

      • FNP

        It shows how unintelligent he is.

  • TruthTeller

    Well some one needs to do something about the phantom foul calls in the Big 12. WVU can't even look at a player if its not called a foul. WVU gets pushed around and kicked in the face but nothing is called. OL needs to file a complaint about the no contact fouls called on WVU and also the no fouls being called when WVU gets knocked to the ground!!! Get those things corrected and WVU could run the table.

  • Ron - from Morgantown

    Alan , its past my bedtime . But you are on a roll ( no pun - you from Alabama ) with stories so I feel compelled to reply . I heard BH tonight and he seemed upbeat , but its July and he has a new hip how else is he going to feel ? Every coach feels optimistic in July . Esp BH , because in past summers he broke ribs and blackened eyes in freaky accidents . This year he is hospitalized again but its scheduled this time . Back to basketball , I'm not as optimistic as BH is about the future of the program . I think wv football is better suited to return to national prominence than the bb program . I can't get past the premature attrition. It speaks volumes . And if you are intellectually honest then you have to come to grips with BH losing so many players . If you look at the decline in bb it actually started in Jan of 2012 . That's enough of a sample size to be worried . The quick fix never seems to work but thats the strategy BH has employed to right the ship . I disagree with that strategy . Look at the options for 2015 (players) , its weak because BH has put a lot of emphasis on winning now instead of building a program . I don't think BH cares what I think . I'm not delusional . I'm just a fan responding to a story at 130 in the morning . I don't like JC players (some exceptions) because they lack discipline and struggle with the team concept . JC are like minor league baseball players - trying to get to the "bigs" rather than trying to win for the team . Its up to the coach to motivate and build team unity and to get players to play for pride and love of school . Is BH up to the task ? That treadmill can only go so far . Of course getting players of high character would help but BH has never had that luxury . Even in his heyday at Cinn his players had a lot of warts . But BH was 20 yrs younger then and had 1 less heart issue - so he could conduct his unique love-hate relationship with his players at breakneck speed and stamina . And his players loved it and played hard for him. So the question is this - Can BH new hip and all , can he find the enthusiasm and desire to lead and motivate and get WVU back to national prominence ?

    • Matt T.

      Ummm - yes!

    • Jim Kinzer

      Ron, if the attrition speaks "volumes," what is it saying? You skipped that part of your critique.

      "I don't like JC players (some exceptions) because they lack discipline and struggle with the team concept ."

      this is funny. You should check undefeated Wichita State's roster when you get a chance....

    • Big Larry

      NO....

      • rick

        once again. dumb comment. shows intelligence.

        • Bigger Larry

          If you're waiting for Big Larry to make an intelligent comment, pack a lunch, and maybe a dinner. It's gonna take a while.