Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins

West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins surveys the court

Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins

MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Bob Huggins walked down the steps of the WVU Coliseum to the playing floor Friday morning and took a seat at one end of the court, as approximately a dozen media members gathered around him for his normal press availability prior to Saturday’s game with Kansas State.

After 11 minutes of answering questions about his team’s loss at Texas Tech a couple days before and about the upcoming meeting with K-State (Feb. 1, 2 p.m. on ESPN2), the Mountaineer coach reached into his pocket and pulled out a few folded pieces of paper.

West Virginia
West Virginia guard Jordan McCabe

“I probably shouldn’t, but I’ll give you some very alarming stats,” said Huggins, isolating one Post-It note with some handwritten numbers. “We were averaging 20 turnovers per game for the longest time, but on top of that …

“Uncontested field goals, which is if the guy is seven or eight feet off you or further, we are 54 for 169 for 32 percent. That’s with nobody guarding you.

“Catch-and-shoot – catch it, step in and shoot it, not off the bounce, just catch it, step in and shoot it – we are 73 for 243 for 30 percent.

“Uncontested catch-and-shoot shots, we are 22 for 89 for 25 percent.

“You want to know why we have lost four? We can’t shoot,” continued Huggins, whose club is 16-4 overall on the season and 4-3 in the Big 12 Conference. “We’re not making shots.”

West Virginia’s coach noted that not all the blame on the poor shooting percentages can be laid exclusively on the fingertips of the shooters.

“A good portion of that (shooting) statistic is because of bad passes,” explained Huggins, who is tied with Adolph Rupp for the seventh most wins in NCAA Division I history with a record of 876-366. “If you have to field (the pass) off your ankles, you’re probably not going to make it. If you have to jump to get it and then come back down, you’re probably going to get covered up.

“Great passers make even bad shooters decent shooter. They are just shooting everything from the pocket,” he explained. “The more movement there is in your shot, the more chance there is for error. If you are fielding it down here or up here or over there, then there is a huge chance for error.”

The Mountaineers are currently third in the Big 12 in scoring offense (73.7 points per game) and fifth in field goal percentage offense (43.6 percent), but last in the league in three-point field goal percentage offense (30.1 percent) and also assist/turnover ratio (0.87).

“The one thing I do is I don’t lie, and I’ve said since the first week of practice that we can’t pass,” said WVU’s veteran coach. “I haven’t changed my opinion. We can’t pass.”

With three seniors, one junior, five sophomores and five freshmen, the Mountaineers are the youngest team in the Big 12 and on the lower end of that scale in all of Division I.

“Is some of that experience? I think so, I hope so,” Huggins said in terms to WVU’s offensive issues. “Experience has a lot to do with it.

“How much better was Wanny (Juwan Staten, with experience)? He’s one of the best point guards we’ve had here, but he sure wasn’t his first year (In 2013). He was horrible.

“I do think we improve some every day, but is it significant enough to notice?”

“We made a conscious effort to try to recruit guys who could shoot,” he said. “Look at how Taz (Sherman) struggled, and now he’s starting to come out of it. You would think that at some point in time Sean McNeil is going to come out of it. Jordan (McCabe) is shooting 20 percent … 20 percent! He’s a better shooter than that. You would think that with the law of averages, if nothing else. they would start making more shots.”

* * * * * *

The Mountaineers’ Brandon Knapper did not play in WVU’s 89-81 loss at Texas Tech Wednesday because of a reported illness.

The sophomore guard, who is averaging 3.6 points in 9.6 minutes of action per game this season, has returned to practice and likely will be available for game action against K-State on Saturday.

“He was good yesterday,” said Huggins of Knapper during Thursday’s practice work. “He had the flu. He doesn’t necessarily look good. He’s lost weight and stuff, but he shot it pretty good yesterday.”


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    Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins MORGANTOWN, W.Va – Bob Huggins walked down the steps of the WVU Coliseum to t
    [See the full post at: Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins]


    Why worry about 3 point shots. those 15 footers(2 points) by the guards add up quiet nicely, thank you. Also

    the 6/7 footers off the glass by Haley or Oscar will work as well. Just saying. And of course, I must add, fair

    officiating. But then fair officiating would mean that D and O would be on the floor longer = a WVU win.

    Did not see the TT game(espn+)p u…did see a little review one guy was behind Derek with his arms wraped

    around him and another facing him doing the same. I believe a foul was called on a WVU player!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Granted Asst/TO ratio is bad, but let’s not blame all of the poor Asst on passing problems.

    Uncontested shots 32% …  Catch and Shoot 30% …..  Uncontested catch and shoot 25%.

    Uncontested shots at 32% and 25%……. That’s not entirely a problem that better passing will fix.

    Our best G’s are shooting 44% Deuce, and 42% Chase.  Then it drops down to 35, 35, 33, 27. Sean, Taz, Knap Jordan.  ….   I’m not including Haley because he’s mainly getting his shots in and around the paint. only 3-12 from 3 and is no threat from outside 15 ft.  But even that is an average % for our G’s.

    Better passing may increase those numbers, but not that significantly.  If you can’t make it uncontested, you just can’t make it.


    If you watched the game on ESPN+, as I did ($4.95 a month is peanuts to watch my alma mater play 12 games), there was NO doubt that TERRIBLE passing contributed to the loss. The lowest assists total in decades for a WVU team also screamed that passing was a problem.

    WVU has thrived when the guards and others who come to the perimeter make a lot of quick passes, then find the open Mountaineer for an uncontested or easy shot (for Oscar, if he gets the ball 5 feet from the rim, who is going to stop him without fouling him?). There IS a correlation between the number of assists and how well Huggins Heroes do in a game!

    Taking a 3 and missing, with the ball flying beyond reach of our bigs, led to Texas Tech fast breaks and easy scores. I saw it, again and again.

    As always, shooting, rebounding, passing, defense are a package. Few teams are better than the other team in all 4 categories in every game. But doing well in 3 categories makes it easier to win while doing a poor job in the 4th category. We all know that.

    Now, let’s demolish Kansas State at 2 pm Saturday on ESPN2. And be aware that, with a brawl team on the floor, the refs are going to call it close early and often to discourage another brawl. Just play the game better and win!

    I’m not unhappy with 16-4 against opponents who collectively have the best winning percentage of any college basketball team’s opponents! Think about that. That is an astounding statistic!


    The other contribution to the loss was Texas Tech shooting lights out.  Ramsey went off, the rest of the team shot well and sometimes when a team is shooting that high of a FG% you just have to tip your hat.  WVU turned them over 22 times, but when they did get shots off, they made virtually everything.  Hard to stomach sometimes, but we’re going to get every squads A games moving forward, bank on it.


    We just didn’t have any energy at TT.  Started off the same way at home today.  Until Huggs had enough and pulled the whole first team.  New 5 got the message and played tough.  We still couldn’t hit shots.  That has to be fixed along with our PG play.  And our Shooters need to get their sights lined up.

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Home Page forums Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins

Home Page forums Bad Passing, Inexperience Big Parts Of WVU’s Shooting Woes, Says Huggins