WVU’s Jermaine Haley Sees Chance to Build Momentum
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins isn’t big on finding positives in losses. He finds the idea that a team has to lose in order to learn lessons abhorrent. However, when they do occur, it is at least a bit encouraging to find reactions from players who hope to play better and more consistently in the future, and don’t just toss the results away in an uncaring manner.
“We played a pretty decent game. We were getting calls in the first half, but we weren’t capitalizing on it,” Haley said in assessing missed opportunities to bury the Red Raiders. Among those errors, 14 missed free throws and 22 turnovers stood as glaring testaments to the thrown-away chance for the win, but Haley wasn’t about to duck his head.
“We just have to finish the game. There are things that we could have done better. It should have been our game,” he stated matter-of-factly. “I think we’ll be fine, but we have to win the next game for sure. “We just have to stay positive.”
Haley is one of four guards getting time at the point, which has been one of the most unsettled positions on the team. Each competitor, including Beetle Bolden, Brandon Knapper, Jordan McCabe and Haley have strengths to which they can play, but none is a complete point guard package. WVU coaches understand that, and as early as the preseason noted that the spot would likely be one by committee. That hasn’t worked out, although Haley says he can help make it so.
“We can all play, but sometimes certain guys work well with other guys,” he analyzed. “If coach wants me to come in and play point I am going to do exactly what he says. I have to come in and make plays. I have to make passes and get people open; play defense. Each game I get more comfortable.
“Even though we lost, I think this was one of our best games,” he summed up, perhaps going against the evidence of so many lost possessions, but still putting forth a positive attitude. “We just have to execute down the stretch and get some momentum going in to conference play.”