Harler One Of Few Stable Factors For WVU Hoops
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — When this year started for the West Virginia basketball team that pretty much has its season riding on how it does at home Saturday against Backyard Brawl rival Pitt, the accepted wisdom that this team belonged to Sagaba Konate, Esa Ahmad and Beetle Bolden.
They were front and center, the best players, most experienced players, the heart of the offense, defense and rebounding.
Like who was thinking that he would become a crucial factor, yet that is how the cards have played out.
Konate and Bolden have spent much of their time in a MASH unit, Konate nursing a knee that underwent off-season surgery and hasn’t been up to par and Bolden nursing every other part of his body, or so it seemed.
The two missed too many practices and too many shots while Ahmad has been consistently inconsistent.
As for Harler, who came quietly to WVU out of the northern panhandle and was little more than a role player for two years as Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, along with Bolden, did the heavy lifting at the guard spot, no one know what his role would be.
Not even him.
“I came in ready. I didn’t know how much I would play or what my actual role would be, but right now I’m just trying to be a leader,” Harler said. “I have to do a better job of being more vocal. When things are not going our way, I have to do a better job of taking the ball and pointing to guys and telling them where to go.”
With Bolden banged up, Harler was moved into the shooting guard starting role by coach Bob Huggins.
Most thought it would be and no one would have imagined that only Ahmad would have more playing time — and just by a minute a game — than Harler.
Even more amazing as the season has played out, and everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, you keep hearing whispers that people wish he weren’t such an unselfish player but would begin shooting more.
See, Harler is shooting 21 for 42, which is 50 percent no matter how you figure it, on a team that shoots just 43.8 percent.
“I feel I can make shots,” Harler said. “I feel sometimes I’m too unselfish that I’m hurting the team by not taking those shots.
“I never am going to be considered a selfish player and I’ll always be willing to make that extra pass. We have guys who can make shots,” he said.
Huggins understands the situation. He has even been through it before here.
“This is about the time Nate started being vocal,” Holgorsen said of Nate Adrian, who came on to be a key player on some pretty good teams. “He didn’t say a whole lot his first two years.”
But Adrian had something working for him, and that was he played a lot more than Harler did the first two years.
Huggins believes in Harler though.
“I’m all for Chase stepping up,” he said. “There are times I wish he were more assertive but, at the same time, I don’t need him throwing the ball around like these guys are doing.”