West Virginia looks to bounce back from three straight losses as the Mountaineers welcome Texas Tech to the WVU Coliseum tomorrow night. Although West Virginia has already beaten the Red Raiders, they needed a last minute three and overtime to accomplish the feat. According to Bob Huggins, it won’t be any easier this time around and the focus will be on two players that hurt his team the first time around.
Huggins says Williams is being asked to do more than he should.
“The truth of the matter is, it was Dustin Hannah,” said Huggins about the first game. “(He) got ten straight points. (Jaye) Crockett was in foul trouble, but came in and played well at the end. He made a big three-point play that put them ahead. We just didn’t do a very good job on people we knew they were going to go to. Again, Hannah gets ten straight points. We got to do a better job of finding him. We got to do a better job of guarding him. Obviously, Crockett is playing very, very well right now. We got to do a good job on him.”
Finding those players is not something that West Virginia has done recently, something Huggins has stressed to his players. Even still, junior point guard Juwan Staten feels he needs to step up and give some “tough love” to his teammates to help turn things around – and Huggs says he’s just the man to do it.
“I think (Juwan Staten) can probably do that because of the way he’s played and how hard he’s played. It’s hard to get anybody to listen to you when the people are doing the same thing you’re doing. I’m not pointing fingers at any body, I’m just saying that was a total collapse of team, coaching staff. Nobody did a very good job.”
One player who has seen his play decline lately is true freshman Devin Williams. In the last two games, he’s averaged 5.5 points and 3.5 rebounds, while shooting 4-of-14 from the floor. The Mountaineer head coach chalked that up to a small bump in the road for a true freshman with high expectations.
“We’re asking Devin to do a lot of things,” said Huggins. “We’re all sitting here complaining that Devin is not doing what (Kevin Jones) was doing when KJ was a senior. The reality is that KJ didn’t that when he was a freshman. Devin is still the third-leading rebounder in the league. If he’s not third, he’s still top five in the league. Most people are doing cartwheels with that. We just need more for us to be successful.”
Asking Williams to be the main force down low was not Huggins’ plan at the beginning of the season, so hearing questions about Williams’ play got him started on the situations of two other big men who were supposed to be suiting up for the Mountaineers this season.
“The truth of the matter is, you think we’re going to have those other two guys (Jonathan Holton and Elijah Macon), and we can spread it around a little bit more, and that didn’t happen, so more fell on his shoulders.
“Apparently you got to be on Dean’s List to be eligible now.”
Quotes courtesy of EerSports' Ryan Vanburen.