Be patient with Huggs, young Mountaineers
Published: Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 00:02
While things are starting to turn around for the West Virginia men’s basketball team, they definitely don’t look good just yet.
Somehow, the Mountaineers have found themselves just 2.5 games out of first place in the Big 12 Conference standings and have won five games in league play. But they have yet to beat a team currently ahead of them in the Big 12 standings – just one victory against Texas Tech and sweeps over Texas and TCU.
Unless they can start stringing together even more wins, and more importantly win games against quality opponents, West Virginia will likely miss the NCAA tournament for the first time since John Beilein’s final season in Morgantown.
That’s the way it looks right now, but believe it or not – even though the Mountaineers will likely be playing in the NIT in March – things aren’t all bad.
If nothing else, the way the Mountaineers have been playing, even against teams that aren’t that good, offers an encouraging outlook for the future of WVU basketball.
Even though a lot of players contributed to last year’s team, West Virginia is still one of the youngest teams in the Big 12. Eleven of the 15 players on WVU’s roster are freshmen or sophomores, and many of them are playing major roles on this year’s team.
And the recent success that has come with three straight wins is starting to give them more confidence.
"In all honesty, we’ve been so close," said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. "Hopefully, we have enough confidence now. We’re still so young in the backcourt.
"We’ve got a lot of youth there, and I think they’re growing up."
And you can tell, especially when you look at freshmen Eron Harris and Terry Henderson.
The only two freshmen on the roster have emerged as two of the Mountaineers’ most consistent scorers and the threats on the perimeter that Huggins has been looking for the past few seasons.
The way Harris and Henderson have continued to get better throughout the season, especially as of late, is definitely a positive; it’s a glimpse of what they could be.
Assuming that everyone improves from one year to the next – which didn’t really happen as much as it could have this season – it really looks as though the future can be bright.
Huggins and his staff have brought in a recruiting class that will bring in a group of quality players in the frontcourt, including top-100 forwards Devin Williams and Elijah Macon, to come in and complement a young, talented backcourt with plenty of potential.
So, yes, it’s true things aren’t going well right now. Although they’re getting on a roll recently, the Mountaineers will probably not make an appearance in the NCAA tournament this season.
But things will get better before they get any worse.
Right now all the Mountaineers, as well as WVU fans, can do is hope they’ll be able to build some more momentum and make things interesting when it comes to earning an at-large bid.
Make no mistake about it – there is still hope, and there is still plenty for the Mountaineers to play for.