West Virginia opens the season Monday at the Coliseum against Fairmont State but head coach Bob Huggins addressed the media about how his team is coming together in preparation for the season.
Huggins said that he still has no update on the status of Jonathan Holton which leaves the Mountaineers still in limbo over the junior college forward. If Holton is not eligible, that will leave West Virginia with nine scholarship players although junior college forward Remi Dibo is still recovering from a knee injury.
Dibo is expected to be ready for the season opener, although Huggins does not expect him to play in the exhibition game. Given the short bench, West Virginia must rely on their three true freshmen and Huggins has seen each of them improve significantly since they first arrived on campus.
Huggins does not anticipate the short bench becoming an issue, although foul trouble could be a concern given the new NCAA rules.
"We were pretty good in 2010, 2011 and we had like eight guys," he said.
The Mountaineers held a closed scrimmage against Ohio State over the weekend and without getting into specifics due to NCAA rules Huggins thought his team competed well although they did not shoot the ball well for the second straight game setting after a poor performance in the Gold-Blue Debut.
"We make shots in practice, you would think at some point in time it would translate sometimes to games. I don't think anybody is going to say Terry Henderson is not a good shooter or Eron Harris is not a good shooter, they just haven't done it yet," he said.
Huggins did say that Gary Browne has been the best shooter on the team at this point in large part due to the fact he has put in what the head man calls a "Joe Alexander or DeSean Butler" type effort in arriving early and staying late working on his shooting.
The head man once again singled out Juwan Staten for the effort he has put in toward developing into not only a better player but a leader for the West Virginia basketball team.
Huggins said that he really spent a lot of time in the off-season working to become a better player and he understands what the coaching staff wants out of him.
Monday's game will be at 7 p.m. and is televised on ROOT Sports.