Potential For Flexible WVU Hoops Lineups A Plus, Will Take Time To Develop

West Virginia assistant coach Ron Everhart yells instructions

Potential For Flexible WVU Hoops Lineups A Plus, Will Take Time To Develop

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s revamped and rolled-over basketball rosters offers lots of promise – and lots of options – for the 2018-19 season. With a number of players capable of playing multiple positions, the Mountaineers could roll out numerous different looks when they take the court next year.

In addition to the obvious advantages that provides, this edition of Huggins’ press corps might also be better equipped to withstand foul trouble, a plague that occasionally descends when games are called tightly, or a player has an offnight defensively. The former cost WVU a couple of games last season, not the least of which were the road game at Kansas and the Sweet 16 contest against eventual national champion Villanova. In both, a disparity of foul calls weighed heavily on the outcome, and left WVU shorthanded at critical junctures.

This season, West Virginia hopes, and expects, to have more players available for play, and more that it is willing to put into games at key points. It might not be a stretch to think that WVU’s roster could go 11, 12 or even 13 players deep, even though that would mean almost every player on the roster would have earned the right to get minutes. That usually doesn’t happen – at some point one or two players will show that they probably aren’t ready for those roles, or an injury or some other problem might crop up that makes a player unavailable for duty. A redshirt or two might even occur. Even so, the Mountaineers look to have more pieces available to fit into the puzzle for year.

West Virginia assistant coach Ronnie Everhart talks to Lamont West

The process of figuring that all out will be one that takes a while, and will progress far into the season, “without question,” according to Everhart.

“I think it’s an exciting thing,” the Fairmont, W.Va., native expanded. “As coaches, we are always looking for ways to enhance the versatility of our team. With this group of guys, obviously the depth will be a real strength, but the other part of it is that we are versatile. We have four guys at the wing position that can play maybe three positions [each]. It give you things like being able to switch all ball screens, and really make your defense and offense better, and to be able to plug guys in in certain situations.”

That wasn’t the case a year ago. Although the Mountaineers had another bulldog defense, there were only seven players that recorded more than 12 minutes per game. Foul trouble, injury or illness meant filling a gap, usually by asking another of the first seven to log more minutes. That also didn’t help West Virginia’s press, which functions at its best when it can feature waves of players to sub in and keep everyone relatively fresh.

Thus, there’s a lot to learn about the incoming squad, and West Virginia’s coaches are just getting started in that process. Limited to four hours of practice during the summer, these June and July sessions are more about familiarization for both the coaches and players, and the initial building of team bonds, as they are Xs and Os.

“In terms of getting our guys more time playing with each other early on, I think that it kind of enhances their chemistry a little bit,” said Everhart, who is entering his eighth season as a Mountaineer assistant. “I think that’s always good, to create a better team feel early in the summer. I like it because it give you a chance to get to know your players better.”

With that process just underway, the staff is nowhere near thinking about starting lineups or potential rotations yet. Certainly, returnees will be solidly in the mix, but at this point the permutations are so many that they don’t bear thinking about. For the next couple of months, until the official start of practice in September, the focus will be on building that chemistry, and perhaps seeing what players might fit in what roles. For the veterans, it will be about continuing to improve and bolstering weak spots, while the newcomers will be battling to show they are ready to contribute.

Even if everything goes as well as hoped, there’s no doubt that this season will be a learning one, at least early on. With seven newcomers and only one senior on the roster, experience is in short supply, and it will take time to figure out where everyone stands, and then fit them all together into the roles that best help the team. The key for Everhart and the rest of the staff is to keep them on an upward improvement arc while solving that puzzle.




Home Page forums Potential For Flexible WVU Hoops Lineups A Plus, Will Take Time To Develop

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    Potential For Flexible WVU Hoops Lineups A Plus, Will Take Time To Develop CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s revamped and rolled-over basketball ro
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    For every starting lineup someone puts out, there will be 10 more slightly different and just as good.


    Konate probably the only certain starter


    ” With seven newcomers and only one senior on the roster, experience is in short supply,”

    Sounds lake a Coach Cal team.


    Konate probably the only certain starter

    You don’t think Esa has a lock on the wing position?


    I’d think Esa is a starter, as well as Bolden and Knapper, so long as their health is ok. The coaches will lean on the experienced guys early on, but there will be a lot of chances for the new guys to push for roles.

    I think it will be tough to get minutes for 12 or 13 players, but that potential is there.


    So Kevin, with that said, it’s
    PG – Knapper
    SG – Bolden
    SF – Esa
    PF – Harris
    C – Sags

    Now, this doesn’t mean this is the starting lineup come conference time. Just the experience needed to start the season.


    I think that’s a very good take. Of course, the coaches aren’t ready to talk about starters yet, and will point out that who starts isn’t all that important, but I would definitely lean toward a lineup as you list.

    If there’s any wiggle room, maybe at SG to get a taller guy on the floor at the start, and provide some offensive firepower coming off the bench? That’s not a knock on Beetle at all, BTW.


    Beetle did good job of coming off the bench last year. Huggins loves a good 6th man player that brings a spark. I’m guessing Huggins already has lineup picked out. It will be clearer when the season starts and he gets a feel for who can do what and will do what. Practicing hard and working hard this year will be a plus if you want to get minutes. You don’t work you don’t play. It will be interesting how Huggins will work the offense of going inside and outside. Will Konate learn to pass the ball or force up a shot.

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