And so at just past the midpoint of the 31-game regular season, the Mountaineers (8-8, 1-3 Big 12) will essentially start over, at least in terms of emphasis. That means a smaller lineup, probably more shooters on the floor and more chances for a guy like Humphrey.
The senior transfer from Boston College had not played since a Dec. 22 game against Radford. With freshman Terry Henderson out with a back problem and the Mountaineers in that 0-for-13 start from 3-point range, Huggins was desperate.
"I just needed another guy,'' he said.
Humphrey was happy to be that guy.
"I'm a basketball player,'' he said simply after he'd made three of his four 3-point attempts and scored nine points in just 10 minutes. "At the end of the day, I'm always ready to play.''
Humphrey arrived this season with great expectations that have just not come to pass. He was expected to add much-needed shooting to a team that had trouble finding the basket, but for a variety of reasons - be they defense, offensive sets, hustle, whatever - he hasn't even been able to find the floor.
On his third school and in his fifth season, though, Humphrey didn't have much choice but to ride it out, not that he would have considered giving it up anyway.
"Honestly, just because I'm not playing doesn't mean I'm not into the games,'' he said. "I still want to win, whether it's playing or sitting on the bench. But playing's a lot better.''
Huggins has choices, of course. He has essentially four true guards and four wing players to choose from, so it's not as if Humphrey will play by default in a smaller lineup. But he's at least on the radar now.
"I think sitting over there has given Matt a greater appreciation for being on the floor,'' Huggins said. "And I think he's accepted his role a little bit better.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.