Skip to main content

Huggins: 'We've Got a Chance to be Really Good'

The Hall of Famer believes this year's team will rebound in a big way.

We are in the midst of football season but with October just a few days away, basketball is just around the corner. 

Last year, West Virginia experienced a down year in which they finished dead last in the Big 12 Conference with a 4-14 league record, 16-17 overall. After starting the year 13-2 with wins over No. 15 UConn and UAB, the Mountaineers hit a seven-game slide and would go on to lose 13 of its next 14 games.

A serious amount of attrition is becoming normalized in today's college athletics, so the fact that the Mountaineers only return four players from last year's squad isn't as big of a deal as it used to be. In fact, it may actually be a good thing considering how last season went. 

This offseason, Huggins and his staff put an emphasis on landing transfers that have played big-time basketball, and they came away with two of the best prospects in the portal in guard Erik Stevenson (South Carolina) and forward Tre Mitchell (Texas).

"I thought I'd hate it," Huggins said in reference to the transfer portal. "I thought I'd hate it and I like it. The bad thing is the last time I checked there were 460 kids still in the portal and don't have a place to go. That's wrong. But as long as you're able to pick out who you want like we did, it's pretty good. I liked it."

The one thing that Huggins likes most about this year's group?

"The ball goes in. The ball actually goes in. I mean, it's great."

Scroll to Continue

Read More

WVU finished near or at the very bottom of the league in several offensive statistics; 8th in scoring (68.5 ppg), 10th in FG% (41.3%), and 6th in 3FG% (32.8%) just to name a few. Over the years, Huggins' teams have prided themselves on playing tenacious defense. When you play that well on that end of the floor, the offensive numbers aren't as big of a concern. When you play as poorly as WVU did defensively, it's hard to overcome.

In the old days (as early as five years ago), it would take two to three years to go through a rebuild. Now, a program can be fixed in one offseason thanks to the portal. Can WVU go from the worst team in the Big 12 to possibly being in the mix for the conference title? It may be too early to tell but Huggins loves the potential this team has.

"I think we've got a chance. I think we've got a chance to be really good. Not good, but really good. We've got more guys who I think can score. We do have some guys with experience. We've got size. We haven't had size for quite a while. If we get those guys to score it close, it takes off a lot of pressure on those guys around the perimeter. It's going to be interesting. It'll be fun because it'll be competitive."

"It's the hardest non-conference schedule I think we've played, maybe ever. We'll find out if we're any good. If we're as good as we hope to be, it's not a big deal."

You can follow us for future coverage by liking us on Facebook & following us Twitter:

Facebook - @WVUonSI

Twitter - @MountaineersNow and Schuyler Callihan at @Callihan_.