On Board or Off? Time For Huggins To Make Decisions For His Team’s Future

On Board or Off? Time For Huggins To Make Decisions For His Team’s Future


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Without question, this has been the most wearying — and worrying — season for head coach Bob Huggins in his time at West Virginia. A combination of factors, both on and off the floor, had to contribute at least in part to the lingering cold/flu symptoms that wore him down over the last month, eventually developed into pneumonia and put him in the hospital prior to Monday night’s season-ending loss to Coastal Carolina.

Before that, though, there was plenty to make Huggins, along with fans of the Mountaineer program, sick.

Not only did the identity of Press Virginia melt away with the departure of Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles, but a lack of buy-in and a collection of selfish attitudes combined to sabotage the team for much of the year. Huggins admitted he allowed that to occur, and while he didn’t list the details, there’s no doubt that he believes that he put the wishes of some players for the development of their pro careers ahead of the interests of the team. After WVU’s meltdown against the Chanticleers, he again took responsibility, and vowed that it would never happen again.

Taking Huggins’ famous no rear view mirror story into our thinking, we’re not going to rehash that any further. It is important, though, to keep the events of this season in mind when putting into context what Huggins and his coaching staff has to do next. If there are, as he hinted more than once, players that he is unsure about as regards to their buy-in and effort going forward, then he has to make some hard decisions, and make them quickly.

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In the coming week or so, Huggins and his assistants will meet with every player on the team and conduct a review of their play, work habits, and prospects for the future. What is said there will help determine each player’s path going forward, and almost certainly will lead to additional departures from the 11-man roster (ten active) that finished the season. The question is, will there be any way for someone who is on the bubble, or who hasn’t met Huggins’s standards, to earn another chance?

At this point, that would seem to involve the record each individual has put down to date. Huggins notes that the coaches see, via reports of the players’ access cards, which ones are in the practice facility, and which, in his words are “hanging out on the corner”.  No doubt they have their own observations with which to supplement that. The question is, if players have been doing that all year, how much time do they have to change that pattern? Or to show they are going to be better teammates? Can the coaches believe in a vow of a change of heart?

Huggins said the demonstration of a renewed resolve is simple. The players have to “do the right things”, which includes practice on one’s own, especially in the more unstructured off-season. Again, though, the clock is ticking. The staff is already out recruiting multiple players, and could bring as many as three or four new ones to campus in addition to signees Oscar Tshiwbwe and Miles McBride.  Can they wait two months to see if someone’s work habits or attitude improves, especially if it has been a problem over the last eight? C

The other core issue is this — Huggins has vowed that he will not be held hostage by all of the bad attitudes, lack of team commitment, and selfishness that contributed to the ruination of the 2018-19 campaign. If that is true, then can he afford to bring back players who may have repeatedly exhibited such? In doing so, would he be risking a repeat of this year’s soap opera drama that took the focus from steals and 3-pointers to a daily watch on who was practicing, who was warming up and who wasn’t passing the ball to whom?

These decisions don’t have to be made today. However, with the recruiting pool dwindling, and the spring signing period just three weeks away, they do need to be made in the near future,. Huggins has often said that roster sizes and the final makeup of such has a way of sorting itself out, but never in his WVU career has he been faced with rolling over so many players who leave before their eligibility has expired. Given the way this season went, can the coaches risk another year with players that haven’t already shown their commitment to doing the right things?

Home forums On Board or Off? Time For Huggins To Make Decisions For His Team’s Future

This topic contains 19 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by Butlereer Butlereer .

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  • #87508

    On Board or Off? Time For Huggins To Make Decisions For His Team’s Future MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Without question, this has been the most wearying — an
    [See the full post at: On Board or Off? Time For Huggins To Make Decisions For His Team’s Future]

    #87532

    Ahmad, Harris, Bolden, Doomes!
    Guys who apparently didn’t “buy in” to the program!?
    Interviews of current roster to determine who, if any,
    also don’t buy in are next step !
    Question: will, or have, the interviews been extended to
    current and future signings!?
    This is a natural inquiry by fans not privy to exactly what
    the criteria is for inclusion in the program.
    It seems, to not repeat the past experiences that befell
    the program, this is a must action!

    #87539

    “Given the way this season went, can the coaches risk another year with players that haven’t already shown their commitment to doing the right things?”

    The answer to this is a resounding NO.  The 4 new players that finished the year are the 4 that will be the heart of  this team.  Culver, Haley, Matthews, McCabe.  From Huggs pressers of the 4 schollie players playing at the end of the year …. Harler, Knapper, West, Gordon …. each has to prove that they have bought on to the team approach and commitment to self development that Huggs laid out.  One or two of these leaving would not surprise me.  It could be any of three things.   Lack of commitment by the player’s choice, Huggs review of their commitment, or because of the pressure brought on by being over recruited and the brutal honesty of seeing their role as an end of the bench player during mop up time.

    Then there’s the elephant in the room.  The saga of Sags looms ever present.

    4 gone, more to go.

    #87540

    I don’t understand how you cant buy into a program that has been successful in front of your own eyes.

    #87543

    It’s today’s society.  It’s all about me.  If I don’t get what I want I’ll take my ball and go home.  If I don’t get my participation trophy my mommy will be knocking at your door demanding you give everybody one.  It’s me, Me, ME.

    #87560

    Ahmad, Harris, Bolden, Doomes!
    Guys who apparently didn’t “buy in” to the program!?
    Interviews of current roster to determine who, if any,
    also don’t buy in are next step !
    Question: will, or have, the interviews been extended to
    current and future signings!?
    This is a natural inquiry by fans not privy to exactly what
    the criteria is for inclusion in the program.
    It seems, to not repeat the past experiences that befell
    the program, this is a must action!

    Talks with recruits and their families, coaches and relations are always part of the recruiting process. However, that is always something of a gamble, because 99 times out of 100 people are going to say the right things. It’s only when you are around them every day that you see what they actually do.

    This is not a problem that is limited to WVU. Coaches try to get info from as many different sources as possible. Then they make the best judgments they can based on that info. As we have seen, it doesn’t always work out.

    #87561

    I would add Harler to your list of four, Butler.

    #87570

    I would add Harler to your list of four, Butler.

    I would add Harler to that list in a heart beat.  He’s been 100% in from day one.  The only thing that I would think is if Harler wanted to pursue a Masters that WVU didn’t offer.  The continuity of even a bench player that is 100%, knows the system and can be counted on to make minimal mistakes is huge for any program.    But it wouldn’t surprise me if he decided to move on to another school to play his last year, move on to get a Masters at another school without playing or even stay on as a part of the staff at WVU if offered.   He says now that he’ll be back, but things change.

    #87580

    I would say there are going to be many changes. My guess would be the foundation of 3 in Haley, Matthews, McCabe. As far as Culver, I have no idea. It will be totally up to him if wants to be a part or move on. He’s had his chances. Will he want to take it. Konate, not a 100% sure of what he wants or does not want. Knapper. This one is a mystery to me. I thought this kid would be a great player off the bench. He has only shown bits or pieces. I think he sticks around but I’m not positive.

    Of course all of this is my opinion and speculation. But I really do think he has a good foundation with Haley, Matthews and McCabe.

    Do these interviews include the coaches? As I think it would benefit greatly to bring in a couple new guys.

    #87583

    I see no long term issue with Culver. Huggins was making a point in benching him in the last game.

    Culver has expressed a change of attitude and even admitted to needing the correction.  Not on the same league as Harris or Ahmad.

    #87610

    My take on these guys follows, but I am an outsider looking in & the coaches have far better insights to the players overall value to the team in terms of buy in, work ethic, & talent.

    Culver – his talent upside is high and he obviously puts in some work, but his brain fart in not being on time for a game, for Gods sake, raises concern about his buy in.  Next year?  Returns.

    Haley – good talent level, he’s clearly bought in, he just needs to take his work ethic to the next level.  Next year?  Returns.

    Matthews – another with as yet untapped talent upside, he’s bought in, just needs to devote himself to lots of work on his own time. Next year?  Returns.

    McCabe – has some talent that needs more development, he’s bought in, and he has the work ethic in spades.  Next year?  Returns.

    Harler – his talent has topped out, but he is bought in, and he will work his ass off.  He can give you minutes at the 2 & will at least be dogged on defense – not spectacular, but persistent.  Next year?  Returns.

    Knapper – an enigma talent wise, seems to be a worker, and he is bought in. He must use his work to bring consistency to his talent.  Do that & he becomes an asset. My call for next year?  Returns.

    West – his talent offensively is streaky & defensively non-existent, unclear if he’s bought in, and the work ethic is questionable.  Next year?  Expendable.

    Gordon – whew!  Toughest assessment of all. Talent upside is there, but I just haven’t seen enough of him to even guess about his buy in or work ethic.  My call for next year?  I think they would like to keep him, but if a commitment too good to pass comes along, then he will be expendable.

    Konate – well, talent wise wanting him to return is a no brainer.  In terms of work ethic I think he’s proven in the past he will put in the work. But buy in, which includes team first attitude and actions, therein lies the question with Sags. Next year?  Unknown & I haven’t even a guess.

    #87620

    Great analyses in this thread.  I have no idea who will or will not return for next season, but my gut tells me that 2 or 3 current roster players will not return.

    #87628

    If Sags were to come back I don’t see much playing time for Gordon next year. He would be 4 team power forward. If Sags stays would it play into Gordon’s decision? Maybe he would choose to find playing time elsewhere or perhaps even redshirt?

    #87637

    Gordon used his RS already in JC.  Came here with 3 to play 3.  Leaving now he has to sit 1 and have 1 to play.

    #87694

    Unless he goes D2

    #87698

    [The other core issue is this — Huggins has vowed that he will not be held hostage by all of the bad attitudes, lack of team commitment, and selfishness that contributed to the ruination of the 2018-19 campaign. If that is true, then can he afford to bring back players who may have repeatedly exhibited such? In doing so, would he be risking a repeat of this year’s soap opera drama that took the focus from steals and 3-pointers to a daily watch on who was practicing, who was warming up and who wasn’t passing the ball to whom?]

    Another core issue:  can Huggins afford to bring back coaches who continue to recruit kids with issues, both mental and academically?

    I’m sure that questioning the coaches  and coaching won’t go over well on here, its pretty one sided for what I’ve read.  Who brought in all these kids, who has been coaching them the past six months?  From game one this group has looked like a schoolyard pick up team of shirts and skins.  Oh, but right, that’s because all of them didn’t “buy in.”  This season has been a real clusterfuck and when things are this bad  you better start looking at who is on top not  the kids riding the pine.  I get the feeling Huggins is throwing the baby out with the wash water.

     

    #87700

    [The other core issue is this — Huggins has vowed that he will not be held hostage by all of the bad attitudes, lack of team commitment, and selfishness that contributed to the ruination of the 2018-19 campaign. If that is true, then can he afford to bring back players who may have repeatedly exhibited such? In doing so, would he be risking a repeat of this year’s soap opera drama that took the focus from steals and 3-pointers to a daily watch on who was practicing, who was warming up and who wasn’t passing the ball to whom?] Another core issue: can Huggins afford to bring back coaches who continue to recruit kids with issues, both mental and academically? I’m sure that questioning the coaches and coaching won’t go over well on here, its pretty one sided for what I’ve read. Who brought in all these kids, who has been coaching them the past six months? From game one this group has looked like a schoolyard pick up team of shirts and skins. Oh, but right, that’s because all of them didn’t “buy in.” This season has been a real clusterfuck and when things are this bad you better start looking at who is on top not the kids riding the pine. I get the feeling Huggins is throwing the baby out with the wash water.

    So, you suggest that this isn’t the fault of the recruits, but those that recruited them? Personally, I think that’s horse hockey.

    In fairness, perhaps the ones recruiting should have been more specific. But how more specific can one be about committing to a school and its coaches one commits to, abiding by the rules, putting in the required work and be a team player can there be? How much more defining can there be than that? And how much more simplified can it possibly get? It’s  FREE RIDE, with ALL of the benefits! AND, a chance to succeed at the next level!!!! It’s GOLD!

    Today’s athletes are given privy beyond comparisons in the history of mankind.That’s a FACT.

    #87708

    IMO the problems with the just completed season lie primarily with some of the players’ lack of commitment to the program and to their own future. However, there is some blame to be shared by the coaching staff for: 1. recruiting some guys who had either insufficient talent or insufficient work ethic, and 2. taking too long to recognize (and rectify) this slow motion train wreck of a season.

    If steps had been taken in November or early December by the coaches to discipline certain players and to give the freshmen more meaningful playing time, some partial salvaging of the season may have occurred – perhaps gotten our record to .500 at least.

    #87723

    IMO the problems with the just completed season lie primarily with some of the players’ lack of commitment to the program and to their own future. However, there is some blame to be shared by the coaching staff for: 1. recruiting some guys who had either insufficient talent or insufficient work ethic, and 2. taking too long to recognize (and rectify) this slow motion train wreck of a season. If steps had been taken in November or early December by the coaches to discipline certain players and to give the freshmen more meaningful playing time, some partial salvaging of the season may have occurred – perhaps gotten our record to .500 at least.

    Item 1 – can the coaches get inside another person’s mind to determine work ethic?  C’mon, you know better than that.  In terms of determining work ethic, all they can go on is what they are told by the players coaches and families – of whom, neither party can be called a disinterested bystander.  As to the talent determination, you’re talking about a coaching staff with a proven track record extending for years back that has produced a quality product to put out on the floor.

    Item 2 – I believe Bob himself has already publically done his mea culpa for that.

    #87736

    IMO the problems with the just completed season lie primarily with some of the players’ lack of commitment to the program and to their own future. However, there is some blame to be shared by the coaching staff for: 1. recruiting some guys who had either insufficient talent or insufficient work ethic, and 2. taking too long to recognize (and rectify) this slow motion train wreck of a season. If steps had been taken in November or early December by the coaches to discipline certain players and to give the freshmen more meaningful playing time, some partial salvaging of the season may have occurred – perhaps gotten our record to .500 at least.

    I could see disciplining players earlier if it were warranted, but we just don’t know when and how the cancer started.   As for playing FR more meaningful minutes early?  That’s horse hockey…..  They weren’t ready.  Culver out for disciplinary reasons.  Doomes was scheduled for a RS.  Gordon was just way too raw and coming off a knee.  McCabe and Matthews got 10-15 mins in many of the games early and were just starting to get their feet wet.  Knapper and Haley got 15-25 mins/gm early on and that is meaningful mins.    Huggs played the guys that were ready and moved the guys along that needed to have more time on the practice floor and being coached.

    Had the two jackwads not thought they were better than the team and not drawn the others down with them this season wold have been a little different.  I don’t know that sitting those two dipsticks would have done much to change their attitude or the effect they had on others.

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