Jeffrey Reynolds Sports Editor
March 14, 2013
Bob Huggins is a good coach.
So many fans are fair-weather.
It pains me to read some of the comments posted on the message boards. People who can hide behind a keyboard.
If a team has a bad season, those fans are ready to fire the coach. Huggins won a Big East Tourney - the only one WVU won while in the conference. That same year, just three seasons ago, he took the team to the Final Four.
He has four good recruits coming in for next season. Two of them, Elijah Macon and Devin Williams are 4-star recruits. The other two are considered 3-start recruits, according to Rivals.com. One a center and the other a power forward. They should play right away.
The other two are Nathan Adrian and Brandon Watkins, who should be solid players.
Adrian, a kid from Morgantown, will likely be red-shirted. He is a hometown boy, so you need to recruit a couple of in-state players if they have some talent.
Look for WVU to offer Donte’ Grantham, the 6-7 guard-wing from Martinsburg. WVU needs to keep the best players with D-1 talent in the state.
But, before they offer Grantham, they will need to free up scholarships. The rumor out of Morgantown is that a couple of players will transfer. This would open up a scholarship or two.
Huggins is also recruiting a JUCO guard who can come in right away and help. With promising freshmen Eron Harris and Terry Henderson for their sophomore seasons, along with Jabarie Hinds, those three are set at guards. Hinds had a sophomore slump, but most think he will be fine and improve for his last two seasons.
On the other hand, Gary Browne and Aaron Brown, may be on the outside looking in. The same with Keaton Miles, unless he wants to be a role player. Kevin Noreen is steady. He needs to improve on offense, but does the things that are unselfish. You need a player like Noreen.
Moving to the Big 12 was a tough adjustment for the Mountaineers. The travel (31,000 miles), and the style of officiating that was definitely different, made it a rough year for WVU.
Give Huggins a break. For many fans it is “what have you done for me lately.” Let’s face it, WVU is not a school that can get to the Final Four every year. Not many college programs can do that.
College basketball is so balanced these days – that on a given year, you have teams such as Butler, George Mason and others who do well in the Big Dance.
And don’t forget, some of the last recruits didn’t work out. That happens.
Dalton Pepper transferred to be closer home to his ailing parent. Noah Cottrill had the drug problems, the kid from Houston had the heart issue and the 7-1 center, David Nyarsuk could not get a high enough ACT score in English, because he was from Sudan (Africa) and didn’t speak or read English. (He went to Mountain State in Beckley for two years. When that program folded, he transferred to Cincinnati and somehow got eligible.)
But, that is another story. Some recruits just don’t work out.
Heck, Paul Williamson, the invited walk-on who played at Logan and who hails from Harts Creek, had a good freshman season. He decided to leave after just one season.
Loyal fans won’t jump off the blue and gold bandwagon. Just as soon as they start winning again and make it back to the NCAA tournament, those fair weather fans will want to hop back on for the ride.
True fans stick with their teams through thick and thin – the good, the bad and the ugly. Unfortunately this year was the ugly.
But Cinderella will soon return – wearing a gold and blue slipper. I really believe that Huggins can lead WVU back to the Final Four and maybe even a national championship.
Give him and his staff time to adjust to the Big 12. Give the Big 12 time to work on the schedule so the travel won’t be so difficult on the team and the staff.
Let them get in some new recruits and blend them together.
WVU will be back on the winning track in the near future. With Bob Huggins leading the way. Huggy Bear has over 715 career wins. I’m sure he is going to add to that total.
You can count on it.
(Kyle Lovern is the sports editor for the Williamson Daily News. Comments or story ideas can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.)