WHEN THE subject is West Virginia University football, there are a lot of opinions around the Mountain State right now.
When the subject is WVU basketball, there are a lot of questions.
So on Tuesday, I tracked down Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins in search of some answers. Right now, as you may know, West Virginia's team is practicing each day from 4:15 to 7:15 in preparation for the Nov. 5 exhibition game against UNC Pembroke and Nov. 12 opener against Oakland.
"Just trying to whip these guys in shape," Huggins said. "Trying to execute better offensively. We still have a lot of motion, a lot of freedom, but there are times when we need to run a set. So there's a lot of stuff to do."
How are the freshmen faring?
"I only have two," Huggins said. "Kevin [Noreen] and Noah [Cottrill] are out there practicing. They look lost. It's going to take some time. But I like 'em."
Noreen is the 6-foot-10, 235-pound freshman from Minneapolis, Minn., and Cottrill is the Mountain State product from (most recently) Logan. The latter has been the subject of swirling rumors, fueled when he was introduced but didn't participate in the team's Midnight Madness.
Huggins would simply say Cottrill "had some things to work on." The guard, however, is now in the fold.
Ditto Casey Mitchell, who had been suspended for a violation of team rules. He's back now and practicing.
If, by the way, you have trouble keeping tabs of Huggins' roster, don't worry. You're not alone. The coach was asked how many players he now has on the team.
"About 100, it seems like,'' he said. "Too many."
But here's the deal. WVU has 12 active players on scholarship: Truck Bryant, Cottrill, John Flowers, Dan Jennings, Kevin Jones, Deniz Kilicli, Joe Mazzulla, Mitchell, Noreen, Dalton Pepper, Cam Thoroughman and Jonnie West. Darrious Curry, the hard-luck case from Houston, is also on scholarship and attending school, but WVU has applied for a medical exemption so he doesn't count toward the maximum 13 scholarships in the future.
The Mountaineers also have four walk-ons in camp: Kenny Ross of Furlong, Pa.; Craig Carey (son of WVU women's coach Mike) of Morgantown High; Jake Ferguson of Nicholas County; and Kerwin Selby of Bel Air, Md.
But back to the questions. If you check some websites you'll see the name of Jones, still but a junior, popping up here and there as a possible NBA draft selection next year. Could this be the forward's last season in Morgantown?
"I have no idea," Huggins said. "I would think he'd stay. I don't know though. [The NBA] is liable to have a lockout."
Then there was the subject of recruiting. If you've been following, you know Huggins made quite a splash last week by landing commitments from four players to bring the 2011 class to six. Among the four was 5-11 point guard Ryan Boatright, a four-star player from Aurora East (Ill.) High.
Huggins wouldn't specifically comment, but there's no doubt Boatright has decommitted (a word, it seems, made up for recruiting purposes) and WVU is out of the standout's picture. He reversed field after finding out the Mountaineers would also sign point guard Jabarie Hinds on Nov. 10. It is the second time Boatright has reversed field. He initially gave his word to USC while in the eighth grade, but dropped that when Tim Floyd left that program. He held a press conference just over a week ago to announce his intentions to attend WVU before again changing his mind. Boatright will visit Connecticut this weekend.