Column - Madness gives look into WVU’s future
Published: Monday, October 17, 2011
Updated: Monday, October 17, 2011 00:10
There's not a whole lot you can really take from what happened at Friday night's Mountaineer Madness.
And that's not necessarily a bad thing. It is what it is— a great way to get people excited for the upcoming
season by introducing the team and letting them go out and have fun.
This year's Madness festivities were extremely
interesting to me for a few reasons – the main one being that it was the first time I actually got to see a lot of the new players in action.
You can't tell a lot about how the players will be during game situations by watching the 15-minute scrimmage they did, since you could find better defense in the NBA All-Star Game. But leaving the Coliseum Friday night, one thing was certain in my mind: The future for this program is bright.
With six freshmen and three transfers joining the team, there's not much returning this season to say how good the Mountaineers will be.
Sure, Kevin Jones, Truck Bryant and Deniz Kilicli should be able to have good seasons. But other than that, nobody knows how well the young and inexperienced players will do stepping in and playing significant minutes.
One thing that is pretty easy to figure out is that this team will be much different than the last few teams WVU has put out on the court.
Just from watching the slam dunk contest and scrimmage Friday night, you can tell they're extremely athletic.
Past Mountaineer teams have usually had a few players who can bring down the house with thunderous and awe-inspiring dunks, but it seems like just about every person on the WVU roster was able to do that Friday.
From 6-foot-10 center Aaric Murray to point guards Jabarie Hinds and Juwan Staten – who stand at 5-foot-11 and 6-foot-1, respectively – slamming it home a few times during the scrimmage, this WVU team has the chance to play above the rim like not many others in recent memory have.
The new faces are all fast and athletic, and they showed even though it was just a scrimmage to show off for the fans, they can make plays in the open floor on fast breaks.
To be honest, the only negative thing that should be taken away from Mountaineer Madness was that Murray and Staten, who might have been the two most impressive players on the floor, won't be able to play this season due to NCAA transfer rules.
If those two would be able to play, there's really no telling how big this team's potential could be.
Since they can't play, it's likely this team is going to have to rely a little more on Hinds to run the point, which isn't a bad thing. Hinds and fellow freshman Gary Browne played very well in the scrimmage Friday and looked like they should be able to play off each other pretty well this year.
With other freshmen like forwards Keaton Miles and Tommie McCune as well as guard Aaron Brown, this WVU team has the opportunity to be very special in the near future.
Will that success come this year?
It's hard to tell from what we saw Friday. But the one thing you can tell is that, with such an athletic and young team, this is definitely amping up to be a very interesting season to watch.
And I, for one, can't wait to see how it all unfolds.