Huggins, players: Flowers snubbed
Published: Monday, March 7, 2011
Updated: Monday, March 7, 2011 23:03
West Virginia senior men's basketball forward John Flowers was not named Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year, despite a push for the honor from head coach Bob Huggins and Flowers' teammates.
Syracuse forward Rick Jackson was named the conference's Defensive Player of the Year, instead.
"I think John does more. John can guard perimeter guys, and he can guard post guys," Huggins said. "John is extremely versatile defensively, and he's come a long, long way."
Flowers, a 6-foot-7 Waldorf, Md., native said he would use the potential snub as motivation throughout this week's Big East Tournament.
"It isn't that big of a deal. I know what I did and am capable of doing. My coach and teammates have faith in me," Flowers said. "Everyone knows what I'm capable of doing."
Flowers finished second in the Big East in blocked shots (2.4 per game) and is second all-time in WVU history in blocked shots in a season (73). He is fifth on WVU's all-time list and could move up to third by the end of the Big East Tournament.
"He's had a great year this year," said forward Cam Thoroughman. "Without him, I don't know where we'd be, especially on the defensive end."
Jackson is the only player in the Big East to average a double-double (13.1 points and 10.7 rebounds per game). He also leads the conference in blocked shots (2.5 per game) and defensive rebounds (7.2 per game).
"(Flowers) should've gotten Defensive Player of the Year," said WVU guard Casey Mitchell. "I've never seen a guy block that many shots. He's the soul of our team. When we need a stop, he can stop a big man or a guard. His length is key."
Smith added to strength staff
Former Tennessee director of strength and conditioning for football Mark Smith has been hired as an assistant director of strength and conditioning at West Virginia.
He will assist the director of strength and conditioning with football and oversee a non-revenue sport, as well. Smith, who spent time at South Carolina, Kansas, Florida and N.C. State, has experience with current WVU running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
Smith also served two stints in the NFL, working for the New Orleans Saints and Washington Redskins in a two-year span.
"Mark brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to our program at WVU," said WVU director of strength and conditioning Mike Joseph. "He has worked with several top-tier NCAA Division I universities and NFL teams. He will help to continue our standards and goals at WVU to be the Big East Champion and the ultimate goal of a National Champion. The strength and conditioning staff is driven to be best in the country and by adding Mark, we can continue that tradition."
WVU back in rankings
The West Virginia men's basketball team is back in the top 25 for the first time since Feb. 7. The Mountaineers come in at No. 20.
The Mountaineers are the sixth-highest rated Big East team. Nine teams from the Big East were ranked in the AP top 25 this week.
Big East watch party
The Mountaineer Maniacs are sponsoring a watch part for the West Virginia men's basketball team's second-round Big East Conference Tournament game at 9 p.m., Wednesday in the Mountainlair Ballrooms.
The Maniacs will provide free pizza to all students attending the event. Coca-Cola will provide free soda, T-shirts, hats, bookmarks and pens. In addition, a basketball trivia competition with prizes will be held throughout the game during commercial breaks.
The student who brings in the largest amount of empty Coca-Cola cans or bottles to be recycled to the event will win a $150 gift card courtesy of Coca-Cola.