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October 16, 2013
West Virginia will answer some of the questions surrounding this team when the Mountaineers make their season debut Friday night in the Gold-Blue inter-squad scrimmage but others will remain.
The biggest of those is the status of junior college forward Jonathan Holton. Head Coach Bob Huggins once again offered no update on Holton, outside the fact that he continues to practice with the team and will play Friday night in the scrimmage.
"I don't know. If I knew I'd tell you," Huggins said of Holton's current status for the season.
The scrimmage will afford an opportunity for West Virginia to get some real basketball experience under their belt after spending most of the earlier practices focusing on the teaching aspects that comes with a roster full of new faces. But ultimately, the game is a chance for the West Virginia fan base to get their first look at many of the new players on the roster, Huggins said.
"They came up to me yesterday and wanted to do a dunk contest, but I don't think they realize we're practicing two hours before the scrimmage," the head coach said.
This will be the first of two scrimmages for the Mountaineers with the next coming in a closed setting next Saturday in Columbus, Ohio, when West Virginia will square off against Ohio State similar to games they've had with Virginia and Xavier in the past.
Both will give West Virginia the opportunity to find a semblance of continuity after most of the practices have pitted many of the Mountaineers against each other to give the most competitive settings. For example, to date both Eron Harris and Terry Henderson have squared off against each other, while Gary Browne and Juwan Staten have done the same, Huggins said.
"The scrimmage will obviously be good for us," he added.
Huggins believes this year's edition of the Mountaineers will be much more perimeter oriented than the previous couple seasons, reverting back to some of the teams the head coach had earlier in his career in Morgantown. He also expects the team to play hard and be physical, a trademark of Huggins teams.
"That's what we're good at," he said.
The perimeter scoring isn't just restricted to the guards, Huggins expects that his big men will also be able to hit shots outside and due to the lack of overall size will need to rely on their mobility and footwork on the offensive end. That will be an adjustment for some of the younger players that often relied on being the most physical player on the floor in high school.
"Two days ago we tried to explain to them that Texas has a couple guys that when you stand behind them we're not going to see them," he said.
The gates will open at 6:30 p.m. Friday, with the 40-minute scrimmage tipping off at 7:30 p.m. Other festivities include the introduction of the men's players and staff, a speech from Bob Huggins and an autograph session with the team following the event on the Coliseum floor.
The Mountaineers will play an exhibition game against Fairmont State on Monday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.
West Virginia NEWS