Learning The Ropes: Haley, McCabe Working to Find The Groove at Point For WVU
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia fans will be (or should be) watching the developments in the backcourt when the Mountaineer men’s basketball team opens its season against Penn State at 9:00 p.m. on Friday night at the WVU Coliseum. They’ll have no trouble distinguishing between the two primary candidates — six-foot, seven inch Jermaine Haley and six-foot Jordan McCabe — and they’ll also see two very different players in terms of style. Haley is a smooth-moving glider who prides himself on his passing, while McCabe’s herky-jerky moves and quick trigger bring more dynamism to the position. Both have had their moments in the preseason, but starting Friday night, its all for real.
Not only, that, but it’s critical. West Virginia has won games over the past few years by getting many more shots than its foes, mostly via steals and offensive rebounds, but with extra possessions via the former expected to decline this year, the Mountaineers can’t afford high turnover totals.
|WVU (0-0) vs. UB (1-0)||Fri Nov 9||9:00 PM ET|
|WVU Coliseum||Morgantown, WV||Series: WVU 2-1|
|Ranking: WVU – 16 UB – 62||TV: ESPNU||Last WVU 68-62 (2015)|
|Twitter: @BlueGoldNews||Facebook: BlueGoldNews||Web: BlueGoldNews.com|
Both players have had up and down stretches of play during the preseason. The reasons for that are many — learning the offense, getting familiar with teammates, figuring out how and where to deliver the ball rather than just passing it along to the first open face — and it’s a process that’s going to continue for much of the season. It’s possible, but not likely, that one of them seizes the job and never lets it go, but both are talented, and both subject to the growing pains most every first-timer in Division I.
“Everybody can play together, but for me, getting in the film room and looking at offense from last year is going to help,” said Haley. “I’ve been watching film from the last two games to see what I’ve been doing wrong and then correcting it during practice.”
Haley, via his year at New Mexico and another in junior college, has some experience to draw upon. McCabe, who arrived with flashy credentials, is just getting his first taste of a jump in competition.
“There were a lot of adjustments. We’re all trying to get through the learning curve with the press,” he said of one of the biggest challenges he has faced in Division I.
“Penn State was a get your feet wet type of experience, especially for me,” McCabe said of WVU’s exhibition loss. “We weren’t the team we wanted to be, especially in the first half. There were a lot of takeaways for us from that game. I believe we have made strides here in the past week.”
“I’m very excited. We’ve been talking about Buffalo since I got here in the summer time. They are going to test us in a lot of ways and I think we are prepared.”