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Huggins' sighing period and State's opening

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- This is a national letter of intent signing period.

For West Virginia hoops coach Bob Huggins, though, it's also been a sighing period.

From my perch in the McCarthey Athletic Center on the campus of Gonzaga, there was little positive to see from the Mountaineer basketball team.

To be frank, there was nothing.

Deniz Kilicli was 2 of 6 shooting with five turnovers.

Matt Humphrey was 2 of 8, 1 of 7 from beyond the 3-point arc.

Juwan Staten was 0 of 6 and had but one assist.

Jabarie Hinds was 4 of 10 and 1 of 6 shooting treys.

Aaric Murray had 14 points but was not dominating, gathering four rebounds and fouling four times.

Those were WVU's starters.

Kilicli and Kevin Noreen fouled out. WVU had 20 turnovers. The Mountaineers shot 27.3 percent from the floor. And in the exhibition win over Glenville and the 85-50 loss to Gonzaga, West Virginia is a combined 4 for 40 in 3-point shooting. For the math challenged, that's 10 percent.

But I figured, hey, maybe Huggins saw something positive after watching game film. So I called and asked what he saw.

His response: "We weren't very good."

WVU has a few days to work. The next game isn't until noon Nov. 22, Thanksgiving day, against Marist in the Old Spice Shootout in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

But Huggins was asked to break down what the film showed. He said Gonzaga forward Elias Harris, who had 11 points and seven rebounds, simply wasn't a good matchup for his team. He continued.

"We didn't run offense," Huggins said. "We didn't do anything. Our guys just kind of milled around. They didn't screen. They didn't use screens. They didn't pass the ball.

"It looked like we had three guys out there that had never played [for WVU] before. And we did."

Defensively, WVU played man-to-man and a 2-3 zone against the Zags.

"We had spots where we played pretty well," Huggins said, "then we had spots where four guys were playing pretty well and one guy not. Or three guys playing pretty well and two guys not.

"You can't do that. It takes a concerted effort."

The most alarming aspect to the loss was WVU's poor shooting.

"We're going to shoot better," Huggins said. "We're going to shoot it a lot better."

Humphrey, the Boston College transfer, didn't provide the lift late Monday night/Tuesday morning. Nor did freshmen Terry Henderson and Eron Harris. Henderson played 20 minutes and was 1 for 5 shooting - all from 3-point range - while Harris was 0 for 1 from behind the arc.

Huggins was asked if the freshmen were ready for such action. "No," he said. "But I didn't have any choice [but to play them]."

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  • As mentioned, this is the early signing period and WVU has four power forward commitments lined up.

    Huggins has two four-star recruits set in Devin Williams and Elijah Macon. He has two other three-star recruits in Brandon Watkins and Morgantown's Nathan Adrian.

    The coach said he has four ready to sign, but didn't expect any to do so until today at the earliest.

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  • And finally . . .

    There have been rumors popping around the open football position at West Virginia State.

    George Washington High's Steve Edwards? Former WVU Tech and Nitro coach Scott Tinsley?

    Well, word is neither had applied as of Thursday, and Yellow Jackets athletic director Sean Lloyd wasn't saying much when reached.

    "We've undergone a national search," Lloyd said, "and no decision has been made. We're still searching and still receiving applications.

    "We've got seven or eight days left in the process. So far, I've received 47 or 48 email inquiries."

    So there you have it.

    Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.


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