Junior Kevin Noreen said he wants a change going into the 2013 men’s basketball season. He said he realizes it starts with him.
Noreen, a native of Minneapolis, is the only player in the frontcourt who has experience. On a roster full of forwards who are either freshmen or junior college transfers, the 6-foot-10 forward is hoping to take on a more vocal role to help rebuild the Mountaineer program.
“Our inside guys obviously have a lot to learn with Kevin Noreen being the only has who has any experience,” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “They’ve been coachable, they listen, (and) they’re trying. It’s hard when you don’t have the background to do the things that we want to get done.”
While Noreen developed more of a shot in the 2012-13 season, his work ethic is what West Virginia fans have grown to appreciate.
In terms of coaching effort from players, Huggins said he realizes he doesn’t have to worry about Noreen compared to some of the newer guys on the roster.
The former Mr. Minnesota was voted team captain as a sophomore. Noreen shot 46 percent from the field and averaged 18.2 minutes per contest.
The skilled forward had his best game against Virginia Tech when the Hokies came to Morgantown as an undefeated squad. He had his first career double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds in the Mountaineers’ victory. On the season, Noreen averaged 3.0 points and 4.4 rebounds.
Noreen said he knows his vocal leadership will be key with the newer players.
“I think our new guys are buying in already. My play time (in 2012) translates to this year,” he said. “It’s my fourth year, so I should be focused and mentally prepared everyday. The new big guys we have – they don’t know anything; they haven’t been here.
“I just try to help them out with small questions or where they go on a specific play type of thing.”
Noreen said the effort has been there through the first few practices. While the inexperience may exist, the guys are listening to demands early on.
“I try to help the big guys because I’ve been here. I kind of (have) an idea of what’s going on and what’s expected,” he said. “Practice is more intense. Coach (Huggins) has been himself, but we’re more accepting of that this year.
“Guys are listening, and when he says something, we’re actually trying and execute it.”
Noreen will have additional roles on this year’s squad, especially playing down in the post. For now, however, his leadership as a big man may be the most important task.