West Virginia University Basketball Coach Bog Huggins is known as a great recruiter of talent. Now that he has returned to his alma mater, there is no indication that his recruiting ability has fallen off.
Several future Mountaineers have been seen playing on national television recently. Several weeks ago there was a tournament in Bethesda, Md. featuring some of the top high school teams in the country. Games were televised on ESPN networks. For those of you who don't follow these things, the term "high school" used to describe these teams is something of a misnomer.
Teams like Oak Hill Academy and Montrose Christian Academy are for high school aged students, but their basketball teams are places for ultra talented high school aged players to spend a year or two before heading off to a big time college basketball program. They don't end up at these schools because the school is near their residence. These kids are recruited to be there, or some may even ask to be on the team. They don't play for state championships, they are national programs.
A relative newcomer to this basketball factory scene is Mountain State Academy near Beckley. Mountain State was on hand for the Bethesda event. It is unknown at this time if MSA has the financial ability to continue its attempt to play at this level, but the interest for WVU fans is the two future Mountaineers on the MSA roster this season.
One is Turkey native Deniz Kilicli. A 6-9, 250 bruiser, the big Turk has a wealth of untapped ability. He will join Huggins' program in the fall and with weight training and Huggins' effective coaching methods, Kilicli should blossom into a very good Big East player. The debate for those who have seen him play a few times is whether or not Kilicli will redshirt next year.
One player who won't redshirt when he arrives in Morgantown is MSA teammate Noah Cottrill. A 6-2 guard, Cottrill has been making noise in West Virginia since he was an eighth grader playing AAU ball. Cottrill played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Poca High School and led the state in scoring as a sophomore. He committed to Huggins during his freshman season. He will not arrive in Morgantown until the fall of 2010. He has another year of high school to complete.
With that said, in watching Cottrill's MSA team play a team from Las Vegas in the first round of the Bethesda tournament, he is ready for the Big East. Playing against the second seeded team, MSA was outmatched, but Cottrill may have been the best player on the floor. Playing against Texas' top ranked point guard recruit, Cottrill more than held his own. He scored off the dribble and showed fantastic three point range. A range Huggins will likely reign in for the most part.
What really sets Cottrill apart are his ball handling and passing skills. His passing skills are such that his MSA teammates have trouble catching them at times, and Cottrill may force a few. Bottom line though is when he arrives in Morgantown he will have been battle tested from playing basketball in the highest level in high school and AAU competition, and having excelled at those levels.