MORGANTOWN - The bow isn't quite ready to be attached, so Bob Huggins won't be able to unwrap it today. Still, there is a $24.1 million Christmas present for him and the West Virginia basketball program sitting right outside the Coliseum.
It's in the form of the school's new practice facility, which seems only a matter of weeks (late January, sometime in February perhaps?) away from being complete and inhabitable.
And wow, what a place it is.
"I was talking to somebody who went to a school where they were building a practice facility,'' Huggins said. "And while he was there they showed some pictures of our practice facility and said, 'Now, ours isn't going to be like this. West Virginia's is the best. It's going to be close, but it ain't going to be like that.'
"What a wonderful thing. What a wonderful thing for us to say, 'We've got the best.' ''
When Huggins and the men's team - along with Mike Carey and the women's team - move into the facility that's just behind the Coliseum, they will indeed be moving into a space that has to rank among the best that have ever been built. Not having seen a lot of practice facilities, I can't make any grand proclamations about where this one ranks, but if Huggins says it's the best, well, who am I to argue?
It's something Huggins has been working on since he returned to his alma mater.
"I got tired of people saying, 'Man, you don't understand. This is West Virginia,' '' Huggins said. "I knew the passion that the people had and how great the people here were and I knew they would support us. And I figured if we were going to do it, do it right.''
It's hard to really explain what all is included in this new building and do it justice, so we won't really even try, beyond explaining that there are full-sized practice courts (and then some), locker rooms, training facilities, coaches offices and absolutely everything a basketball program would need to succeed. And the whole place is like a mirror image, too. What the men's program has on one side of the building, the women's program has on the other.
Really, it is exactly the same in every way; well, save for the urinals in the men's locker room.
The building was designed and constructed for one basic reason above all others.