Realist Huggins Critical Of Play In WVU Win
Bob Huggins thinks that people perceive him as negative, but he is positive about one thing. He’s a realist.
Realism to Huggins is that his basketball team, despite a 9-1 record, is a long way from being where he wants it to be, even after surviving the foul fest at Pitt which saw four of his starters record four or more fouls in the midst of a 69-60 victory Saturday night.
“I’ll get people saying I’m too negative, but I am a realist,” Huggins said after it ended. “All those people with the pie in the sky stuff. You know what they get? They get their (butt) beat.”
And if there’s one thing Huggins dislikes, it’s getting his butt beat.
Losses, some say, are a good thing, that you can learn from them.
Huggins is not among those who say that.
“You have to be really dumb to have to lose to learn,” Huggins said. “And I really believe that. Why can’t you take something from every game?”
And what did Huggins take from this game, a victory in which an 18-point halftime lead evaporated to two points while Wesley Harris fouled out, and guards and team leaders Jevon Carter and Daxter Miles Jr. languished on the bench, along with center Sagaba Konate, with four fouls?
Oh the fans, and there were plenty of them who made the trip up I-79 the Petersen Events Center from West Virginia, they had a good time.
“It’s fun for the fans and you guys,” Huggins said to the media, many of whom probably would have rather had their Saturday night off rather than battling traffic, fighting deadlines and then having to drive back home at midnight or so.
“For me it’s work,” Huggins said. “I’d be a damn liar if I sat here and told you I had fun. I didn’t have any damn fun at all.”
Huggins, you see, is a perfectionist. He expects it from his players, from the officials and, yes, from himself.
But perfection is an evasion mistress, he has come to learn.
“It’s frustrating,” he admitted. “We take two steps forward and then go backwards. Someone told me that’s just the youth of American. Well, then the youth of America needs kicked in the you know what then.”
And, rest assured, that kick is coming for West Virginia’s team … especially those who aren’t giving the effort Huggins is looking for.
“In six more games, there’s going to be a heck of a lot more competition for playing time,” said Huggins, referring to the return of forward Esa Ahmad, who has been serving a half season suspension. “There’s help coming …. Wes Harris has got to play with energy; he didn’t. Lamont West has to play with energy and know what he’s doing and he doesn’t.”
West must be some kind of player for he finished with 13 points and eight rebounds, while becoming the target of most of Huggins’ criticism. He originally was credited with a double-double but it was later discovered that two of the 10 rebounds originally awarded to him belonged to Konate.
“I wanted to give Lamont a chair,” Huggins said sarcastically. “I was afraid standing around out there he might start hurting his knees or something. I wanted to throw a chair out there and say ‘Sit down and relax, will you.’ He was not in it.
“Wes wasn’t in it, either,” Huggins continued. “We have to to play with energy. That’s why we couldn’t press. We had no energy.”
Huggins was especially disappointed at his team’s rebounding with Pitt outrebounding the Mountaineers, 38-32.
“It’s hard to rebound if you don’t try,” Huggins said. “I haven’t seen very many people get one if they didn’t want one. It’s amazing if you want a rebound, usually you get it. I told a couple of our guys if you ever got one, you might like it and try it again.”