MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - For the most part, fan events like the one West Virginia's basketball team is holding tonight at the Coliseum are pretty much just for show.
When Bob Huggins trots his new team out tonight, though, it will be a chance to do something that the first few weeks of practice haven't afforded.
"We haven't run up and down at all,'' Huggins said.
And so the Mountaineers will do that. A 7:30 p.m. event at the Coliseum - it's officially called the Gold-Blue Debut presented by Coke Zero - will include an introduction of the team, a speech by Huggins and an autograph session. But more significantly it will include a 40-minute officiated scrimmage.
"We need to scrimmage,'' Huggins said. "It's just that with all those new guys we're doing so much teaching that we haven't had a chance to run up and down. But we've got to start, obviously.''
Indeed, since practice began late last month, Huggins and his staff have spent an inordinate amount of time simply teaching. That comes with having a roster that includes just five returning players, six newcomers and four walk-ons.
Tonight will not only be the first opportunity for fans to see the likes of newcomers Nathan Adrian, Remi Debo, Brandon Watkins and Devin Williams, it will also be one of the first opportunities for Huggins to see them in live action.
For instance, in addition to all the teaching, players like returning guards Eron Harris and Terry Henderson have seldom played together so far in practice. The same goes for point guards Juwan Staten and Gary Browne.
"The way we get the most out of them right now is to play them against each other,'' Huggins said. "It keeps them competitive.''
Everyone on the roster is expected to play with the exception of freshman Elijah Macon, who is both injured and an academic question mark. Jonathan Holton, a junior college newcomer, will play even though his eligibility for the season remains in doubt.