Bob Huggins wanted to use the exhibition to get his backups valuable experience and bridge the long gap between playing games. Mission accomplished.
Every player that was inserted into the game saw at least ten minutes of action while some such as D’Angelo Hunter and Logan Routt both saw their most action of the year.
Granted the game didn’t count in the record books but it did allow Huggins to get an extended look at his backups and what they could, or couldn’t provide down the stretch run of the season.
Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that senior Jevon Carter didn’t attempt a single shot, while backcourt mate Daxter Miles hoisted only six leaving the scoring to come from elsewhere.
“They’re smart enough to know we need those people in backup roles and we got to figure out who’s going to do what and when,” Huggins said.
Huggins felt that there were some positives and negatives out of his team in the exhibition but some of the issues that his team needs to iron out are simply just slowing down on the offensive end after playing such a frenetic pace on the defensive side of the ball.
Speaking of which, Huggins did not believe that the pressure defense has been good but they did discuss it at halftime and it improved in the second half.
“It’s hard to hide in the film room,” he added.
The Mountaineers will eventually get back junior forward Esa Ahmad from suspension although the date for that return isn’t clear at this stage but Huggins also provided an update on freshman guard Brandon Knapper who had all but been ruled out for the year with a knee injury.
“I don’t know. He’s doing some dummy stuff but we don’t know. If we felt like he was going to come in and play substantial minutes why would you redshirt him,” he said.
Huggins believes that once Ahmad is back in the lineup things will change but given the uncertainty with him as well as Knapper it’s hard to get any real feel on his team at this stage.
“I think we’re getting better,” he said.
There have been no questions about the progress of sophomore James Bolden however he injured his ankle during the exhibition but Huggins believes everything will be fine there.
“Beetle is tough,” he said.
West Virginia will take on Coppin State Wednesday night at 7 p.m.