MORGANTOWN — It was a query that had to be asked, the 1 that came forward from the media via Bob Huggins’ post-game press conference on Thursday, moments following his West Virginia group had taken a dagger to the heart in the sort of a 67-65 loss to Maryland in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
As very important as it was to ask it, it was rhetorical, for any a single who had watched Huggins coach by signifies of this season knew the answer … and as Huggins only can, he offered it up in such a way that it had the on the net buzzing for substantially of the evening.
“Might be early for this query, Coach,” the questioner began, which was a giveaway that he knew the query may well possibly be an sincere 1, the timing would be higher served for later.
“But just with your length of time in this small business enterprise, what have you believed about your future and how lengthy you want to keep on carrying out this?”
I suspect you know what’s coming. I’m certain the questioner knew what was coming … and Huggins didn’t disappoint.
“You know the only point I’ve believed about in the final what ever month and a half was getting these guys to a point specifically exactly where they could come correct right here,” Huggins began.
He wasn’t carrying out the Ali Shuffle correct right here. He wasn’t acquiring time to really feel up an answer.
He was shooting straight. His target was to go to the NCAAs in a year when it appeared they wouldn’t make it. Not for him, but for his players.
“Erik (Stevenson) for instance had in no way played in an NCAA Tournament. We want to get these guys to an NCAA Tournament and encounter the NCAA Tournament,” he talked about.
He is, regularly has been, a players coach.
“Unfortunately,” Huggins went on. “Ours is not going to be extremely lengthy, but at least he got to play in 1.”
One particular specific and completed. It wasn’t satisfying, But, as they say, it is what it is.
“I do not know. It is like one thing else, you know. You pretty much surely got guys and girls who appreciate reading what you develop, and there’s guys and girls who say I wouldn’t study a damn point he writes,” Huggins continued, bringing it down to a level even us writers can recognize and truly really feel.
“I got the identical situation going on. I got guys and girls who really feel I require to stay on for rather a even though, and there’s guys and girls pretty much surely contemplating I ought to pack it in and let some young kid come in and screw it up.”
Now that is not a yes or a no, but any a single who knows Huggins knows his extremely existence is constructed upon finding a coach.
Yes, he likes to fish … but he could pull all the bass out of a river that it has to give up and it wouldn’t satisfy him like 1 practice, like matching wits with a guy down on the other finish of the court, like a day with his group.
He was a fitness center rat establishing up. You may well possibly even get in touch with him a son of a …. proficiently, coach, for the cause that that is what he is.
His mates are fellow coaches. Commit 1 evening with them listening to tales told and the fellowship shared and you know how it had to be when Sir Lancelot and the knights gathered about King Arthur’s Round Table.
Bob Huggins was a competitor as a player and presently, at 69, he may have lost a step on the court, but he remains respected as a coach.
Yes, the query wasn’t basically about his age, but about the advantages he has gotten lately, and that is genuine to seem at.
His Mountaineers have won 20 or extra games only when in the final five years. His all round record much more than that time is 90-73 even though his Substantial 12 record is 35-44. The prior five years just ahead of that he went 122-55 even though in the Substantial 12 WVU went 56-39.
The query remains is Huggins slipping or is that a reflection on the improvement from the other conference teams.
I believe it is extra the latter.
The strange element of speaking about irrespective of no matter whether it is time for Huggins to retire is that he just authored 1 of his finest coaching jobs ever.
This group was not as talented as his Final four teams correct right here or at Cincinnati. This was a project, a group purchased from IKEA that had to be spot with every single other.
Can Huggins nonetheless coach? Seriously should really Huggins keep on coaching?
Ask Kedrian Johnson, who saw him create year by year beneath Huggins. A year ago, it is forgotten now, Johnson averaged 5.3 points a game and had extra turnovers than assists. This year, he doubled his scoring standard, had 102 assists to 74 turnovers and designed it his group on the floor.
Ask Erik Stevenson, who grew all via the season till he closed it out with the finest play of his profession, play specifically exactly where he didn’t act like he had “a screw loose,” as he has described himself all via his profession.
Yes, the final game was a difficult 1 with just nine points, but the credit for that has to go to the defense Maryland spot forth.
And speaking about coaching, do you really feel it was effortless for Huggins to bench his leading scorer and the player most most probably to go off on a scoring binge in the second half, delivering him time to try and pull himself with every single other for 1 late run at Maryland?
It didn’t carry out but it took a man ready to face the music for building such a bold move.
The inference from the query was that possibly Huggins was losing it for the cause that he was aging.
That definitely is not the case.
Possibly it was Iona coach Rick Pitino, 70 and a Hall of Fame coach, who summed it up for Huggins when he talked about on Thursday:
“I’d like to coach a distinct ten years.”
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