Through those first four games, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound junior is averaging 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds. Tuesday night he was right at those averages with 10 points and seven boards, even though he played just 20 minutes because of foul trouble. He came up huge in the early going, grabbing rebounds and playing in the post like everyone hoped he would when he arrived from Turkey two years ago.
And then there was that no-look pass.
It came about midway through the second half when he was stationed in the lane just inside the free-throw line. The Mountaineers had been playing a high-low game all night, but this probably wasn't what Bob Huggins had in mind. Aaron Brown was on the wing and Kilicli saw him out of the corner of his eye and rifled a pass behind his head.
It hit nothing and sailed out of bounds.
"Yeah, I'm going to get that,'' Kilicli said. "I'm going to get it. Just watch me.''
Here's the thing, though. Huggins didn't go off on Kilicli. Quite the contrary, in fact. At the next dead ball he replaced Brown.
"Yeah,'' Kilicli said. "Because he couldn't catch it.''
Well, maybe. More likely it was just Brown's turn to come out.
Still, just watching Kilicli try something as audacious as that leads one to believe that he's getting more comfortable with all those young players around him, unlike a week ago when he seemed so depressed over those same youngsters.
By Tuesday night, he was all smiles, especially talking about that failed attempt at basketball wizardry.
"It was a blowout and I wanted to try it,'' Kilicli said. "It's the Tragic Johnson in me.''
The Tragic Johnson?
"Yeah,'' he said. "Sometimes I can't hold it back.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com.