"It's sad. I don't want to leave this place,'' Kilicli said. "The people are pretty cool. It's hard for me to leave here. It's been my house. It's home to me. But I've got to do what I've got to do.''
Huggins knows how hard it will be for Kilicli to leave WVU. It will be just as hard for him to see him leave.
"Denis has probably been one of my favorite guys,'' Huggins said. "I just like the way Deniz has embraced West Virginia and the culture. He loves the people and the state.''
He loves playing for Huggins, too.
"He means so much to me. He's like a dad, you know?'' Kilicli said. "I love him to death. He did so much for me. Nobody did that for me in my basketball career. None of my coaches worked on me as much as he did. He's been there for me in every high point of my life and every low point. When I needed people the most when I was 17, 18, he was there for me.
"We have a different kind of relationship than just player and coach. It's so hard for me to go somewhere else, but I have to do it.''
Huggins jokes that he's surprised Kilicli still is so fond of him.
"He always tells me that when he didn't understand English he liked me,'' Huggins said. "But then when he understood English he still liked me.''
Just before today's 1:30 p.m. tipoff with Iowa State (the game will be televised by the Big 12 Network, locally on WQCW), Kilicli and fellow seniors Dominique Rutledge and Matt Humphrey will be honored prior to their last game. Kilicli will walk onto the court with his parents, Ahmet and Dilek.
It will be the only time they have ever watched their son at the place he's called home the last four years.
"I just want them to see it because as much as I tell them about it, you've got to experience this kind of stuff,'' Kilicli said. "All these students, the people, how much our fans show the passion for our team ... It's an amazing place here.''
But it won't be easy for him.
"It's going to be really emotional,'' Kilicli said. "I'm an emotional player anyway. When I'm playing, my emotions really affect my game.
"But I think it's going to be good. You can never get too hyped for a game. If you're too hyped, it's easy to come down. If you're low, that's a problem. If you're low, it's so hard to get your spirits up. But it's my last game here. Hopefully it's going to be like my first game, but better.''
After that is next week's Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo., and then, more likely than not, college basketball is over. The Mountaineers, four games under .500 now, aren't likely to play beyond Kansas City unless they get on the kind of hot streak that has been missing all season.
And beyond that, who knows? Kilicli will continue to play basketball, either in the United States or somewhere in Europe. He would love for it to be here.
"But you never know what's going to happen,'' Kilicli said. "I didn't have the best season this year, so I've got to go out there and prove myself, which I don't have a problem with. But if [playing in the U.S. doesn't] happen, I can always go to Europe and play. There are a lot of teams there that would [sign him] just because of how I play and just because I played for Huggs.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.