MORGANTOWN - Bob Huggins has a pretty good reputation for going out and finding talented basketball players. This time, though, one found him.
Kevin Noreen, the high-scoring player of the year in Minnesota last winter, is enrolled in summer school courses at West Virginia and will play basketball for the Mountaineers this fall. The school officially announced his addition to the team Tuesday.
It all happened almost out of the blue. Huggins had all but given up trying to fill his one available scholarship for next year before the AAU coach for the 6-foot-10 Noreen called and said the youngster was interested.
"I was asked by Jerry [Noreen, Kevin's father] and Kevin to contact West Virginia,'' Jerry Robertson, the AAU coach, said Tuesday. "They expressed interest in Kevin immediately. They weren't sure if he had signed or not or where he was in that process, but they were aware of Kevin and expressed considerable interest.
"I think it's a great fit for him.''
Huggins feels the same.
"We are really excited about getting a player of Kevin's caliber this late in the process," Huggins said. "Kevin is a multi-skilled player who will fit in our system extremely well. With our abundance of physical low-post players, Kevin's skill set should prove very valuable for our team's future."
The theory, of course, is that adding a player of size with multiple skills will draw defenders away from the basket, where inside players like Deniz Kilicli and Dan Jennings - and, to a degree, Kevin Jones - thrive.
Robertson said he and Noreen's first contact with West Virginia was last Thursday. By the weekend, Noreen was visiting Morgantown and on Monday he committed. He is already taking summer school courses. WVU's second term of summer school began Monday.
Originally recruited and signed by Boston College, Noreen asked for and was granted his release from his letter of intent this spring after BC fired coach Al Skinner. He had spent more than a month sorting through scholarship offers - reportedly more than 40 - but apparently wasn't satisfied with any of his choices.
That's when he asked Robertson to intervene.
"Kevin wrote down a short list of schools that he really had interest in that were not recruiting him,'' Robertson said. "I made contact with those three schools, two of which had already recruited players for his position and one that had a position available, which was West Virginia.''
Noreen is a 6-foot-10 forward from Minneapolis whose high school statistics are in another realm. As a senior at Minnesota Transitions School, he averaged 38.6 points, 16.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 3.9 steals and 3.2 blocks as his team won the Minnesota Class 1A state championship.
He also carried a 4.0 GPA and reportedly scored a perfect 36 on his ACT.
Noreen broke the Minnesota high school record for career points with 4,086 and as a senior had 14 games of more than 40 points, including seven when he scored 50 or more. He has three straight 1,000-point seasons, including 1,205 this year. He has played on the varsity level since the seventh grade.