“I think we suck right now.” – Bob Huggins
This was the WVU head coach's reaction to the Mississippi State loss.
Kevin Jones had his worst outing this year. Truck Bryant wasn’t much better. Deniz Kilicli was better than he has been this season, but not spectacular. Overall, it was a poor road performance in front of a national audience on ESPNU. And no one is more embarrassed by that performance than Coach Bob Huggins. He let his team know it publicly. He thinks they suck.
Jones, Bryant & Kilicli have all experienced a public spanking from Huggs before. What remains to be seen is how the new kids on the block (Hinds, Browne & Brown - sounds like a bunch of law firms, doesn't it?) will respond to such chastening. We’ll find out in short order as the Mountaineer Men’s Basketball team (4-2) has another prime-time nationally televised game tonight verses undefeated Kansas State (5-0).
In spite of Huggs brutal assessment, I was encouraged by a lot of what I saw last game. Many of our freshmen have tremendous upside and you can see it in their great court presence. Deniz seemed to come out of his shell and bang some bodies a bit. We fought back after initially being knocked to the canvas. The 75-62 final score wasn’t indicative of the team effort – we actually were in the game until the final few minutes. Minus Truck’s poor shooting and KJ’s foul trouble, I came away with hope that the Mounties can and will get better.
And while we're on brutal assessments, here's one from me in the form of a question: Whatever the hell the coaches did in the off season to tweak Truck's shooting stroke, can they change it back? Not only is it not working (25% from 3-land and 39% from field), it's awkward looking. I mean it's ugly. I realize that getting your elbow pointed toward the rim is part of good form, but Darryl just looks uncomfortable shooting now.
Tonight we get to see if Huggins’ straightforward approach to assessment motivates the rookies, wakes up the veterans and gets us a needed confidence victory. Game time is 9:00 p.m., EST on ESPN2.