Little Notice For Jermaine Haley’s Big Night, Versatile Performance Vs. Missouri

Little Notice For Jermaine Haley’s Big Night, Versatile Performance Vs. Missouri

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When he’s at his best,  Jermaine Haley might be at his most unnoticed.

That sounds counterintuitive, but it’s certainly been the case recently for the unassuming senior, who deflects attention to himself as adroitly as he defends opposing scorers or drives to the basket to score.

West Virginia's Gabe Osabuohien (3) and Jermaine Haley (right) defend against Missouri's Mark Smith (13)
West Virginia’s Gabe Osabuohien (3) and Jermaine Haley (right) defend against Missouri’s Mark Smith (13)

Take, for example, Saturday’s 74-51 win over Missouri. West Virginia’s defense, of which he is a big part, held the Tigers to just 15 made baskets and 30 rebounds while forcing 16 turnovers. Still, the attention to those areas was focused on WVU’s big interior players. WVU scored 50 points in the second half, and Haley was tied for the team lead in points, but again, that slipped by the wayside. Deuce McBride’s matching 15, and Oscar Tshiebwe’s 14, garnered more attention.

That doesn’t faze Haley at all, however. His answers to questions are as likely to bring up teammates as they are to include any attention on himself. That doesn’t change, however, his importance to this Mountaineer team. In a way, that’s highlighted by the attention he gets when he isn’t playing at his best. Skip back a week or two ago, when he was in the midst of a shooting downturn and on the wrong end of some turnovers, and “What’s wrong with Haley?” was a common theme.

Of course, it wasn’t as if he was playing terribly. He was still performing well on defense and supporting his teammates on the bench. Missing, however, were those drives and post-ups at the rim, and the confident pushing of the ball upcourt in transition. He began to break out of that against Texas, and in the win over the Tigers, was back to the player Mountaineer fans and coaches have come to expect. He just missed a double-double with 15 points and nine rebounds (one more board and maybe he gets some more post game attention), stole the ball three times and dished out two assists while helping hold the Mizzou starting five to just 14 points.

Haley is usually in the midst of that defensive action, drawing an opponent’s best scorer or most dynamic offensive player.

“We have certain lineups where we are so big teams have problems scoring on us. Our defense definitely energizes our offense, so we take pride on getting stops,” is about as much as Haley allows about himself, and the problems his height cause on that end of the court. He’s also routinely dismissive of his versatility, noting that he is just trying to help the team in any way possible.

That’s true, but it’s also indicative of the fact that players who master varied roles, call them “glue guys” or a jack of all trades, often are overlooked.

West Virginia’s coaching staff isn’t included in that group, though.

“Jermaine gives us a lot of length at the guard position,” head coach Bob Huggins reiterated. “When he [and Gabe Osabuohien] are active, they take vision away. Guys may get beat but they can’t get the ball to them because they can’t see them.”

Then there’s the offensive end, where Haley also serves multiple roles.

“We’re trying to put people in a mismatched situation with him more. I think the biggest thing is he helps us rebound at both ends. He keeps balls alive, he rebounds,” Huggins detailed. We’ve had these spells where we’re just out of it, and that’s when it’s great to have a 6-foot-7 guard.”

Add in time at point, which he can fill when WVU goes with a bigger lineup or wants to spread the floor and create some of those mismatches, and the list of contributions Haley makes only grows longer. Not all of them are box score based, but make no mistake – without him, West Virginia isn’t a 16-3 team at this point.

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    Little Notice For Jermaine Haley’s Big Night, Versatile Performance Vs. Missouri MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When he’s at his best,  Jermaine Haley might be
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    No doubt, Haley’s play has been under the radar.  Quietly he scores 15, 9 reb, 6-6 from the FT line,  3 Stl’s, 2 Asst playing a game leading 32 mins.  Had this been the stat line for Culver, Oscar, Deuce or most others it would have been headlines.


    Haley is the key to this team’s success.


    Maybe not THE key, but a portion of the key.


    I agree concerning Haley but with this caveat based on my perspective.  We have 4 bigs and we get pretty consistent performance game after game, based on their skill level, from Gabe and Routt.  While OT and DC have higher ceilings, they are more inconsistent relative to the other 2 bigs.  The good news it is not too often that they both are struggling at the same time.  Since they are young it is likely they will increase consistency as the their number of games played increases.

    We have 5 guards (6 if Knapper can, hopefully, weather the storm and stick with this team) and we are getting pretty good performance from McBride, McCabe, McNeil, Harler, and Sherman and, as a group, their overall performance seems to be on an upward trajectory.  With 5, maybe 6, to choose from we do not need everyone of them to be “on” every game.  But we do need enough of them to be on to be sufficient and we need them to continue to improve as a group.

    Haley, along with Matthews, giveas us 2 true swing players.  Good ones are worth their weight in gold, imo.  We really need those two to step up their game, and it appears Haley is just about there.  IMO they do not need to be “stars”.  But they do need to be good and to be consistent.  What would be good from them?  I think a combined 16-20 points/game, a reasonable shooting %, limited turnovers, great defensive effort, 70% from the line.

    But, most of all, I truly just enjoy watching and discussing this team.


    The strength of this team is that opponents can’t gang up on one guy and win. Derek. Oscar. Hell, all 12 that Huggins sends in like a tsunami of pain for WVU rivals! No one, including me, can predict who will be the hero of any game! Against Texas Tech and every WVU game it doesn’t matter who has the most rebounds or points or blocks or steals, just that WVU got the W. 16-3 so far. And 2 freshmen and 2 sophomores have been at the heart of this turnaround from the miserable last season where 2 guys poisoned the well. Huggins deserves a national title to go along with all of his other achievements. I hope he gets it before either one of us dies. I can’t wait for TT on Wednesday!


    CFE, maybe it was initially 2 guys poisoning the well, but the other 5 that left the program were certainly not without blame.  Ahmad and Harris no doubt were the ring leaders.  Konate with his knee escapade certainly didn’t help.  Bolden and Doomes me first attitude doesn’t mesh with a team.  West has always been just drifting without any direction.  The only one I would say had any potential may have been Gordon, but he was soooo raw.  He was the only one I would have kept out of the 7.   Most teams can always use another 5 hard fouls from an athletic big.

    That being said, the squad Huggs has put together may be the best yet.  And that includes the FF squad.  There are a lot of unsung heroes on this team.  Haley has quietly worked his way back to being one of the guys that deserves as much time as he can get.


    Really good discussion–from all of the above!


    Either Haley or Matthews have to fill the swing role better than they have.  One of the two or better yet, both fill it.


    They will fill it different ways.  Haley with glue, rebounding and floor general.  Matthews with scoring and rebounding. But someone has to step up if WV wants to win the National Championship.  That is in play.

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