Huggins Still Looking For Response To His Challenge
On the morning after he delivered an unmistakable, and sometimes blistering, message to his team about dedication to the game, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins hasn’t seen any immediate results.
Granted, it had only been some 14 hours since the Mountaineers dropped an eminently winnable game against Texas Tech, but in Huggins’ mind it was clear that he expected, or at least hoped, that some of his players would receive and act on his prodding to get into their palatial practice facility and work on their games. Items such as free throw shooting (18-32 against the Red Raiders), passing (six assists) and turnovers (22) were key factors in the loss. WVU had not recorded such a bad assist to turnover ratio in 37 years, when it had 28 giveaways and six assists in a 1981 loss to Pitt. It was just the seventh time in school history the six-to-22 ratio had been exceeded.
With so many improvement arcs to work on, Huggins may have thought he’d see some of his players on Thursday as they get ready to hit the road to face Texas in a late Saturday night contest. That wasn’t the case.
“The only one I’ve seen in the gym this morning is Kevin Jones,” Huggins said, referring to the workout warrior and former Mountaineer star. “I wish I could play him.”
In regard to his team’s reaction to his message, he was equally curt.
“I haven’t seen it so far this morning.”
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Without any input, Huggins was unable to provide on update on the status of Beetle Bolden, who missed much of the second half of the Tech loss with a knee injury. Bolden had ice on the joint for much of his time on the bench, and returned only in the closing moments as a 3-point threat.
Sagaba Konate, who was still on crutches on Wednesday night, remains out indefinitely. At this point the 2-3 week timeframe is an estimate only, and West Virginia must prepare as if it will not have him available.
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Huggins did note one positive — the play of Derek Culver. The freshman responded to the challenge of the toughest team in the league with 12 points and eight rebounds. He also had two of WVU’s assists.
“I think Derek has been the one bright spot for us,” Huggins said. “We just have to get him to slow down on offense. We have to throw the ball to him. He’s the one guy that can score. He has been great in practice, he has been great off the floor, and he has been our most productive guy since he came back.”