The West Virginia basketball team is clearly growing up. Just not nearly as fast as its head coach would like.
“I worry about our immaturity all the time,” Bob Huggins said.
The Mountaineers have a pair of seniors in the backcourt, but the rest of the roster is comprised of a collection of newcomers and sophomores that saw limited action a season ago.
So to say there has been some learning on the job would be an accurate assessment.
“We’re so inexperienced it’s hard to make adjustments,” Huggins said.
Huggins has made multiple references this season that he has had difficulty even setting up plays because players haven’t understood their responsibilities on even casual alignments.
That takes time and while the Mountaineers do have that on their side before they head into the Big 12 Conference slate, they still have to iron out some of the kinks to take the next step as a club.
But even with that youth, West Virginia has rolled off seven straight wins while perching itself inside the top 25 after falling rather convincingly in the season opener to Texas A&M.
Still getting on the floor is largely based on production as well as a sense of trust. For Huggins it’s been difficult to find that combination with so many players that lack the process of actually going through it.
“If your boss can’t trust you, you’re not going to have your job very long. That’s a life lesson. I can’t put somebody out there when we’re trying to win games that I can’t trust,” Huggins said.
The veteran coach points to senior guard Daxter Miles as an example of a player that has matured over the years and while he didn’t fill the box score against NJIT he did some of the things that had eluded him throughout his younger years on the court.
“I thought he guarded pretty well, he attacked the rim, he tried to rebound, he tried to post up – he tried to help out in other ways. That’s a sign of maturity,” he said.
There are a few things Huggins won’t tolerate until the maturation process is complete, however. One of those is players being taken out of the game that proceed to pout on the bench.
“We need some guys to grow up. Forget the basketball, they need to grow up a little bit,” Huggins said. “We pout like were eighth graders.”
And that wasn’t it.
“This whole thing where you score a basket and yell at the guy you score on. What is wrong with people? I think if that would have happened when I played you would have got punched in the face,” he said.
So for now, Huggins will have to express patience with his team all while keeping a close eye.
“We’ve got to get them to understand,” he said.