by Jim Buzzerd
Not much time tonight as I failed to budget my Monday hours wisely, but with the West Virginia University Football Team off last weekend there isn’t a lot to discuss about coach Neal Brown’s football team. There is some news in that there will be fans at Milan Puskar Stadium this Saturday for the Kansas game. WVU will allow the stadium to be 25% occupied, or roughly 15,000 fans to attend. Kickoff is set for noon and will be televised on FOX.
Game time for West Virginia’s game with Texas Tech in Lubbock next Saturday has been set for the unusual time of 5:30 p.m. That game will be televised on ESPN2.
So, I’ll briefly mention coach Bob Huggins Mountaineer basketball team. Expectations are high with eight players returning that averaged over 13 minutes per game last season. Mix in the freshman class that is full of players capable of earning playing time and you have a very deep basketball team. That can be a blessing and a curse. Obviously having 12 or 13 guys who can help the program win is a good thing… right?
My answer is ‘yes, but.’ Yes, but it can be complicated to find enough playing time to keep everyone happy and a little dissension can go a long way to ruining a team’s chemistry. Plus having that many bodies can really complicate matters when it comes to finding good rotations. Huggins, with all of his wisdom and success, has left me puzzled with his rotations at times. I’ve heard that he lets assistant Larry Harrison do substitutions, which may explain things, if that is accurate.
Anyway, Harrison was on the Statewide Sportsline last week offering up some tidbits. “This might be the deepest team that we have had in quite a while. You would have to go back to the 2010 team that went to the Final Four, and the Press Virginia teams with Jevon Carter, Tarik Philip, Gary Browne, Juwan Staten, and those guys. We pretty much got two of everything,” said Harrison.
Shooting was a problem area for the Mountaineers last season. According to Harrison some guys are stepping up in fall workouts. “If you go catch and shoot it is Sean McNeil. If you go to someone who can get you a bucket off the bounce then you are talking about Taz Sherman. The guy that is pushing the ball in transition and getting up and down the floor you are talking about Deuce McBride,” said Harrison.
McBride’s name has been popping up quite a bit as word seems be getting out that he is having a great fall. McBride stepped into the spotlight last season and did not disappoint. He finished last season averaging 10 points per game while shooting 40% from the field. Harrison is putting people on alert for McBride. “Deuce has really stepped his game up quite a bit. I think last year to this year people are going to see a tremendous jump in his game on both ends,” Harrison said.
Next time we’ll get into the forwards and the bigs, namely Oscar Tshiebwe and Derek Culver. Isaiah Cottrell, a 6-10 freshman will get some run too. “Skill wise, he is a 6’10 guy that can pick and pop and put the ball on the floor. We never really had a big that could do some of the things that he is doing,” said Harrison.