"It was a microcosm of our season," said the coach that day.
Now, though, a new day is dawning for the Mountaineers. Bryant is gone. Huggins has infused his program with transfers. Gonzaga, meanwhile, lost center Robert Sacre to the NBA. (He's now a teammate of former Mountaineer Devin Ebanks, now with the Los Angeles Lakers.)
WVU also is catching a break of sorts in that Zags junior forward Kelly Olynyk, who redshirted last season, will be suspended for the game. The bad news for the Mountaineers is another big man stepped in and won the hearts of Gonzaga fans in a 93-45 exhibition victory over Division II Northwest Nazarene University of Nampa, Idaho.
Przemek Karnowski, a 7-foot-1, 305-pound native of Poland, scored 17 points and had eight rebounds. And the team returns veterans WVU fans might remember: senior forward Elias Harris and sophomore guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. (Yes, John Stockton's son David is back as well.)
Bell, Pangos and junior center Sam Dower were first-team preseason All-West Coast Conference selections. The Zags have been picked to win the WCC.
Huggins, however, seems to like his team as well. "We have a chance," said the coach.
He said that on Thursday. He's said that all along.
"We've got to do better running our offense, rebounding the ball and taking care of the ball," he said. "But we've got a chance."
It's almost time to see.
Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvin...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.