Things continue on a downward spiral for the WVU basketball team, so comments will be limited regarding the basketball team. Before Saturday’s 82-75 loss at Baylor word came that freshman Brandon Knapper would miss the contest with a sprained neck. With Sagaba Konate and Beetle Bolden apparently out for the season and Wes Harris and Esa Ahmad dismissed from the team, Knapper’s absence left the Mountaineers with just eight scholarship players for Baylor.
In the face of adversity, the Mountaineers played well and looked poised for an upset as WVU led most of the game and by as many as seven points. So when Baylor took a 71-70 lead with 2:23 left in the game coach Bob Huggins called time out to set up a scoring play. This set up two more head scratching developments in a season full of them.
First, the coach puts in Chase Harler who has been anything but productive on offense this season. I could hear the collective sighs of Mountaineer fans everywhere when Harler entered the game. But even worse was that Andrew Gordon, who Harler was presumably replacing, went back on the floor following the time out. Play resumed before anyone noticed West Virginia had six players on the floor. It even took the referees a few seconds to figure it out, but when they did, WVU was assessed a technical foul.
Still, one is left to wonder why WVU played one of its better games in recent weeks. I’ll suggest it may have had something to do with first year players like Jordan McCabe, Emmitt Matthews and Jermaine Haley playing more relaxed knowing it was unlikely they would get a quick hook following a mistake.
In football related news, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown made an interesting hire as he rounded out his coaching staff two weeks ago when he named Travis Trickett to his staff.
“Travis has West Virginia roots, comes from a Mountaineer family and started his coaching career here in Morgantown,” Brown said. “He brings years of experience with him from various stops, including several years as an offensive coordinator, and has proven to be successful at developing players and as a recruiter.”
Trickett, who was a student assistant coach at West Virginia from 2003-07, is part of a Mountaineer football family. His father, Rick, a longtime collegiate offensive line coach, was an assistant coach at WVU in 1978-79 and 2001-06. His younger brother, Clint, was a starting quarterback for WVU during the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
“I’m very excited to return home to West Virginia and be a part of coach Neal Brown’s staff,” Trickett said. “I have a lot of respect for coach Brown and the success he has had during his career. This place is special to my family and I, and this is a great opportunity to come back and assist coach Brown in developing young men on and off the field. I look forward to being on the Mountaineer coaching staff again.”
Trickett returns to West Virginia after serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Georgia State for the past two years.
Brown continues to impress this observer with his energy and organization. Now, will he win games?