MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The benching of West Virginia freshman Teddy Allen appears likely to continue Saturday against Texas, with Bob Huggins saying coaches are “in the process of teaching Teddy to listen.”
The forward who produced three games of 20-plus points this season was yanked in the first half at Texas Tech and did not return. Allen subsequently was benched throughout a 71-66 loss to Kansas, with Huggins citing the need for an attitude adjustment.
“Teddy needs to be quiet and listen,” Huggins told his weekly radio audience on Thursday.
Asked if Allen would play against Texas, the coach replied, “I don’t think so.”
The coach reiterated his stance Friday before West Virginia’s practice at the Coliseum.
Allen’s defense has been spotty and he’s shooting only 3-of-22 from 3-point range (13 percent), but his slashing ability and post-up work against guards have boosted West Virginia’s halfcourt attack. The newcomer nicknamed “Teddy Buckets” is averaging 8.6 points and 12 minutes per game, highlighted by scoring 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the Jan. 6 win over then-No. 7 Oklahoma.
While acknowledging Allen’s absence exacerbated the late offensive drought against Kansas — “there’s no doubt it hurt us,” — Huggins deemed the benching necessary to reinforce disciplinary standards.
In recent seasons Huggins informally suspended All-Big 12 point guard Juwan Staten and starting center Elijah Macon. Konate also was benched for a game last month.
“It’s better to lay the law down early so they can understand,” Huggins said. “When you tell them something and draw the line, and they don’t recognize where the line is, then you have to teach them what the line means.”
Amid some fans clamoring for Allen’s return to the rotation, former WVU player Alex Ruoff defended Huggins’ decision.
“You’d have the ask the HOF coach and the 60-plus years of coaching experience in his staff,” Ruoff tweeted. “For myself, having played for them, know they’re playing the players who give us the best chance to win.”
Huggins said Allen’s potential requires a reset: “I think he can be a really good player and, more importantly, I think he can be a really good guy.”