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February 18, 2013
The West Virginia (13-12, 6-6) has been inconsistent at best throughout the 2012-2013 season. With just six games remaining, WVU will have to be close to perfect in conjunction with a strong showing in the Big 12 Conference tournament, if they have any post season aspirations. Former WVU star, Alex Ruoff has been watching the team struggle from afar.
Ruoff played at West Virginia from 2005 to 2009, where he scored 1420 points and had 410 assists during his career. Since graduating from WVU, Ruoff has played overseas in Belgium as well as in the NBA's D-League for the Canton Charge. This past summer Ruoff spent time in Morgantown rehabbing and working with the basketball team. Ruoff, just like anyone who watches WVU regularly is surprised at what has happened.
"The talent level of this team is extraordinary; we have won in the past with less talent. It's not the fact that we're not good enough to win, it's the little details we aren't getting done," said Ruoff, "With working with the guys all summer it has been disappointing. I don't think we're playing up to potential."
Ruoff spent two seasons under Coach Bob Huggins and he admits it is tough to watch his former coach, Huggins struggle.
"As much as I care for Coach Huggs, I see the disappointment. You just feel bad for him, you wish things were going better and you want to help, but as a former player, you feel helpless," said Ruoff.
But just because, the team is struggling doesn't mean Huggins or the team is going to give up on the season. Huggins will still coach these guys like he was in the beginning of the season. Ruoff feels if the players would just under what Huggins does, the team could find late success.
"I don't think we're playing up to potential. The issues of why that is, I'm not sure, I'd probably blame it on guys not listening to Huggs, the hall of fame coach that we have," added Ruoff.
In addition, being able to change from a Big East style of play to the Big 12 style play has been tough for WVU. According to Ruoff, adjusting to the new style of play could attribute to some of WVU's struggles.
"The biggest thing which everyone can see, I would say the Big 12 isn't as physical. The refs are calling a lot. If you've watched our games, the refs try to control it whereas the Big East they let us play, and it was usually a dog fight with us coming out on top," Ruoff added.
At this point in the season it could be tough for some players to find motivation between losing games and having just a slim shot at the NCAA tournament, but guys have to cling to something.
"Of course every season you go into hoping for the NCAA tournament, that's the first goal," said Ruoff, "At this point in the year with the ups and downs, if it was me, I'd be playing for the uniform, the fans, and really pride."
WVU will try to find some of that motivation as they travel to Kansas State tonight at 9 PM ET.
West Virginia NEWS