CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The views from here, while happily winging back to the Mountain State from Spokane:
The Mountain State has always had a strong link with the Lakers, harking back to the playing days of Jerry West and, subsequently, his work as general manager. (We'll skip his coaching stint.)
The initial backlash against D'Antoni by Laker fans wasn't surprising. Phil Jackson, who was passed over, is a proven winner and fan favorite. What was surprising, however, was the media backlash. Those supposedly knowledgeable in basketball panned the move like an Elizabeth Berkley film.
I understand some of the questions. But Steve Nash loves D'Antoni. Kobe Bryant is happy with the move. And half the battle with gifted athletes is getting them on board with the coach. My hunch is D'Antoni will fare well. If owner Jerry Buss wants a return of "Showtime," D'Antoni's offense is the best option.
My question: Did Buss huddle with West? Perhaps?
You've read the city of Morgantown has given WVU grief about game-day parking on Monongahela Boulevard. Perhaps Luck should put plans for a baseball stadium on the back burner and work on a multi-level parking garage for the Coliseum.
Mountaineer fans will buy tickets for WVU basketball games. As it stands, though, they seem to only show in full force for games against "name" teams.
Part of the reason is because it's a pain to get there and park. If a parking garage would be erected and a few capable traffic cops employed, WVU could draw more fans. It would be easier. It would be more fun. It would be more profitable.
Again, fans have proven they'll show for hoops. Are they really going to show for WVU baseball?
The hosts pasted the Mountaineers 84-50 in Spokane, Wash., and we learned a couple things.
One, with the way West Virginia's team is shooting the ball, it will see lots and lots of zone this season. The Zags started in a man-to-man defense but settled into an effective 2-3 zone, partly because of foul problems. It worked like a charm.
"We weren't in the right place at the right time," said WVU guard Jabarie Hinds. "We weren't flashing. We were perimeter passing. We made their zone look better than it was."
"I feel we played as bad as we possibly could," added Juwan Staten. "We can only go up from here. It was a tough environment and we probably won't face any team that executes as well as [Gonzaga]. We just have to get better."
WVU also needs to get the ball inside more, especially to Aaric Murray, WVU's only double-digit scorer Monday.