WVU basketball starting lineup still a work in progress
MORGANTOWN - A day before his team was to make its public debut with an exhibition game against Glenville State, Bob Huggins still wasn't ready to commit to a starting five.
He's sure guards Juwan Staten and Jabarie Hinds will be on the floor, along with big man Deniz Kilicli. After that?
"It depends on what kind of day guys have today,'' Huggins said before Monday's practice, that one on the Coliseum floor instead of the new practice facility.
In truth, though, if Huggins is able to play the kind of basketball he wants to play this season, starters won't matter much at all, be it tonight's 7 p.m. scrimmage against the Pioneers of the West Virginia Conference or next Monday's late-night opener at Gonzaga.
He wants to play a lot of people and play them at a fast pace.
"Hopefully we have the luxury of playing 10 to 12 guys and running them on and off,'' Huggins said. "The hope is that they play as long as they can and then get some rest while other guys play as hard as they can. And if they don't play as hard as they can, they'll sit down and watch.''
It would appear, at least in the preseason, that Huggins has that kind of team. For the first time since he arrived at his alma mater in 2007, he has a stable of guards that can handle the ball in Staten, Hinds and Gary Browne. He has a solid group of big men in Kilicli, Aaric Murray, Dominique Rutledge and Kevin Noreen. He has wing players in Aaron Brown and newcomers Matt Humphrey, Eron Harris and Terry Henderson. He even has a wild card in 6-foot-10, 240-pound freshman Volodymyr Gerun, ineligible for the first six games but available to play tonight.
It's not likely that West Virginia will need much of that depth or versatility tonight against the Pioneers. Glenville is coming off of a 7-20 season and was picked to finish 12th in the 15-team WVC this season. Three starters return from last season. Coach Stephen Dye is in his fourth season and has a 20-61 record.
The Pioneers do, however, have a definite WVU flavor to a coaching staff that includes former Mountaineers Joe Mazzulla and Rob Summers, along with Bill Lilly, who was the director of basketball operations at WVU under John Beilein.
For Huggins, though, tonight's exhibition game is simply about having someone else to line up against.
"Just playing somebody different is the biggest thing,'' Huggins said. "Both of us are just trying to find a way to get on the floor and play. It's hard to run offense against guys who know everything you're going to do. We're not sharp on offense, so we need the work.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.