Huggins will fix problems
The factors that led to West Virginia University’s 13-19 mark in men’s basketball this past season were many, and veteran head coach Bobby Huggins took the time to explain several of them during his recent visit to the Mid-Ohio Valley as part of the Mountaineer Athletic Club’s Coaches Caravan annual local stop.
“Well, the travel was hard,” said Huggins. “There’s no way of getting around the fact that the travel was hard. But, you know, we have to find a way to adapt to that and, we just didn’t, we just didn’t do a good job of fighting through things.”
That, however, wasn’t the only ingredient that led to the recipe for disaster.
“The officiating was different from the Big East,” Huggins said.
“But, I think it would be different in any league you are in.
“The difference between the Big East and the Big 12 was significantly different.”
So was the style of play.
“In the Big East you have fives,” explained Huggins.
“In the Big 12 you have four/fives. In the Big East you have fours. In the Big 12 you have three/fours.
“Everybody bounces it better. So much is played off of the bounce. It was played off of the bounce to a degree in the Big East, but it was done by guards. It wasn’t from the big people. Those are probably the biggest differences.
“Maybe style of play had more to do with it than anything.”
A flaw that Huggins and his veteran staff have looked to erase before the 2013-14 campaign.
Within weeks following the Mountaineers early exit from the Big 12 tournament, three members of the squad have requested, and been awarded, their transfers.
A move that opened up three spots for the upcoming season and the staff wasted little time in adding junior college transfers Jonathan Holton and Remi Dibo.
Dibo, who played at Mountain State Academy before heading off to Casper College, is the latest addition, but fans should not expect it to be the final one.
“Recruiting. It never ends,” said Huggins.
“We are already recruiting kids for the (20) 14, 15 and 16 classes.
“So, it’s never done, but we’re excited to have Remy.
“He played at Mountain State so he is familiar with our state and he was real excited about coming back to the state of West Virginia.”
A feeling echoed by Huggins.
“I love it (events like the MAC caravan). I love getting out and meeting people. It’s a lot of fun for me. I think it serves a great purpose for our university to reach out.”
And, like the fans, the former player doesn’t want a repeat performance of last season’s results.
“You think?” he said.
“Wasn’t much fun.. No. It was a hard year. A hard year to get through and we’re going to fix it so that it doesn’t happen again.”