The coach has to apologize for his team’s lack of effort.
[cleeng_content id="180799792" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]Fundamentals hide from sight.
Finding the basket is a success only about 30 percent of the time on too many nights.
Five players seamlessly weaving through the coach’s motion offense has never been seen.
Winning ugly or winning with New Year’s Eve hats, confetti, and balloons doesn’t happen often enough.
Just prior to flying off to Stillwater to play ranked Oklahoma State last Saturday and then retooling for Monday’s late-night game against once-beaten Kansas, the Mountaineers have frustrated Bob Huggins with their uncaring attitudes and clumsy mistakes.
The record was 9-9, and the beating taken from a mediocre Purdue team was a still-bleeding wound that might never heal.
Huggins apologized for that one.
Then, his team turned on luckless Texas Christian and kept the Horned Frogs winless in their Big 12 games.
The transfer from Dayton, 20-year-old point guard Juwan Staten, was in such disfavor that he was kept out of one game entirely. But Staten has played more minutes than any other Mountaineer.
He’s the point guard. Yet, he had not made a single three-point field goal in the first 18 games.
His ideas and in-game actions were not what had been prescribed by Huggins. So Staten sat. For a little while. Until the Mountaineers were beaten again.
Aaric Murray, the 23-year-old transfer from LaSalle, has been late to practice and has chafed Huggins with his lack of effort. Maybe there was a reason he left LaSalle other than his desire to find better competition to hone his game against before matriculating on off to the NBA.
Matt Humphrey, the 22-year-old transfer from Boston College, has openly sulked when removed from games. Why would a coach remove a player whose reputed attribute is his perimeter shooting and he is 18-for-46 from the field, including 12-for-34 on three-point attempts and has made three free throws in 10 tries?
Dominique Rutledge, the 24-year-old junior college transfer, hustles and mixes it up, but his shooting skills are so limited that he has nearly as many turnovers as he does field goals.
Gary Browne, the native of Cupey, Puerto Rico and turning 20 years old in March, has made 7-of-42 three-point attempts and 36-of-118 field goal tries.
Deniz Kilicli, now aged 22, has proven to be one thing to Huggins — a likable enigma. Kilicli has had games where the fouls called on him outnumbered both his rebounds and his points. He shoots 48 percent from the foul line (30-for-61) and had 30 turnovers as compared with seven steals and five blocked shots in 348 minutes.
Jabarie Hinds, the nearly 21-year-old sophomore guard, had 31 turnovers and 32 assists after 18 games. He was 56-of-165 from the field and had only 11 steals in 419 minutes. Those minutes played ranked second on the team behind Staten’s 512 minutes.
Freshman Terry Henderson had one outstanding shooting game, but has been injured enough to miss an entire game and showed a 45-for-114 shooting statistic for the season. The 18-year-old had 19 turnovers and 16 assists while playing 343 minutes.
Freshman Eron Harris had 20 turnovers and 13 assists. The 19-year-old had gone 38-for-85 from the field and had defensive problems at times. His minutes are below seven others.
Kevin Noreen hasn’t been injured this season. The 20-year-old center/forward has been a starter in recent games. Like Kilicli, he fouls too often and his points are usually too few. He’s made 14-of-25 free throws. Shooting 25 free throws in 306 minutes is not being productive for a 6-foot-10 player.
One of last year’s starters, Keaton Miles, hasn’t been able to score. He started in 2011-12 because of his front-court defense, but his minutes were few even then. The 20-year-old sophomore had only played 266 minutes in the first 18 games.
Sophomore Aaron Brown has been moved far down on Huggins’ list of choices. The 20-year-old sophomore hasn’t shot well or done much rebounding in his few minutes of playing time. He’s played only 85 minutes.
Ukraine native Volodomyr Gerun had to miss the first six games because of an NCAA ruling that punished him for playing against professionals in Europe. Even when eligible, Gerun hasn’t succeeded against WVU’s competition.
The 18-year-old is 6-foot-9, but doesn’t rebound, hasn’t shot any free throws, and has missed all five of his three-point attempts.
Huggins has mentioned he is still searching for eight or nine players to make up his rotation.
The mixture of Huggins’ players and the various combinations in his lineups have made for uncomfortable times. Players are unfamiliar with the routines and preferred ways of those on the floor with them.
Some of the thin-skinned players are too worried about a mistake that will return them to the bench.
Finding skilled shooters has proven to be an unsolved problem. Finding enough players to accept the loud coaching advice hasn’t happened, either.
Unskilled labor plus a number of “me-first” instead of “team-first” players has equaled too many dull performances and too many losses.
West Virginia needs to resemble a tornado of activity when it plays. It has to outhustle and be physically and mentally tougher than opponents to win many Big 12 games.
If they can hustle and care, even the sure-to-come losses will need no apology.[/cleeng_content]