MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — With the dust settled from the offseason changes and the first game of the 2019-20 WVU basketball season just a little over a month away, Head Coach Bob Huggins said there is one main thing that makes the team he put together unique from last year.
“We actually make shots,” Huggins said. “We don’t have to rely on getting two and three shots each possession. We don’t really have to rely I think as much on creating turnovers. I think we have more guys who are capable shot makers.”
In true Huggins fashion, he questioned whether his team will be consistent shooters.
“Now are they going to do that all the time, I don’t know,” he said. “Hopefully they don’t all miss on the same day, which seemingly kind of happens.”
Huggins said this team has more guys on it capable of making shots.
“Chase (Harler) has shot the ball well this whole summer,” he explained. “Sean (McNeil) has been kind of laid up but we look at Sean as an elite shooter. Taz (Sherman) and our returning guys — Jordan (McCabe) can make shots, Brandon can make shots — I just think we have guys capable of making proper shots, particularly open shots.”
With the shot makers and fire power Huggins said this team can possess, he said they have no choice but to outscore opponents on a consistent basis.
“That is what we are,” he said. “Sometimes I look at Taz (Sherman) and I am like, wish he was a little bigger — he is 6’3”, 6’4” — and he shoots it now. He as of today is our most consistent shot maker, and he can make hard shots. He is a versatile scorer. He can score on the perimeter and in Junior College they set him down on the block quite a bit … he can score it down there.”
He also commented on the shooting ability of sophomore guard Sean McNeil.
“Every time Sean shoots it you think it is going to go in and when it doesn’t go in you are looking at him like what’s wrong? Everything looks like it should go in,” Huggins said. “Chase is the same way, Chase has shot it very well. If we can get Derek a little better if we can get Oscar a little better, you have to score in the post. That opens things up outside and you can through it inside and vice versa.”
The bigs inside, Huggins said, should open up shots for these guys.
“Hopefully with the fire power that we are going to have inside, it’s gonna create some more open shots outside on the perimeter,” he said.
Huggins said going into the last game of the season, Culver was going to lead the Big 12 in rebounds also noting that he did not even play the first half of the year. Huggins also commented on Logan Routt’s improvements stating, “he has played really well.”
“When you think you have those three guys (Culver, Routt and Tshiebwe) and if we can get Gabe there is four guys — I think we can work on people,” Huggins said.
On the defensive end, Huggins said he hopes to bring a mix of things to the court to keep teams off balance.
“When we were really good with the Final 4 team, we played a lot of point-drop matchup stuff, we played man and we played 1-3-1. You can’t let them come down every time and be in the same thing. You have to keep them off balance.”
With the team and Mountaineer fans ready to move forward, the basketball roster has a good mix of retuning guys and new guys; however, the team is still really young as Huggins pointed out.
There are three seniors in Chase Harler, Logan Routt and Jermaine Haley; two juniors; five sophomores; and four freshman.
“We are still really young,” Huggins said. “We want to look at Emmitt (Matthews) and Jordan (McCabe) for instance as veterans and they are sophomores.”
Despite Huggins uncertainty of how his team, comprised of young guys and junior college guys, chemistry is much better over one year ago.
“I think we are pretty good, ” he said. “They were great in Spain. Everything that they did, they kind of did as a group which is different. Like they all went out and played football on the beach. … They hand out together. They actually like each other.”