The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

May 23, 2011

Hahn says Huggins is a Hall of Fame guy

West Virginia assistant basketball head coach Billy Hahn has been around the coaching block. A few times.

He’s been a head coach — at Ohio University and La Salle. He’s been an assistant head coach at Maryland, his alma mater. He’s had a handful of assistant jobs, including the one he’s at now.

He’s made tournament runs, including the Mountaineers’ run to the Final Four in 2010.

But never before has he seen as fine a coaching job as the one turned in by Bob Huggins last year.

“People have to understand that Bob Huggins is a Hall of Fame guy,” Hahn said Thursday at The Resort at Glade Springs during the Mountaineer Caravan stop. “The guy wins every year; he wins with every team he has. What we did with this year’s team was absolutely amazing.”

Consider:

n The entire 2010 recruiting class was wiped out.

David Nyarsuk barely missed on his English test score, and he is now a key piece at 2011 national runner-up Mountain State here in Beckley.

Kevin Noreen showed flashes until an injury shut him down before the midpoint of the season.

Darrius Curry never made it, as a medical condition shut him down.

And, of course, Logan’s Noah Cottrill had his problems and was eventually released from the team.

That’s four players. And four casualties, all for different reasons.

n Dan Jennings quit during the South Florida game.

n Shooter Casey Mitchell was suspended for a spell.

“That was one of the best coaching jobs I’ve ever seen,” Hahn said. “I told people after the season, ‘Can you just name me two, three, even four coaches across America that could take our team and actually win 22 games and go to the second round of the NCAA Tournament?’ I don’t know who those coaches are. I don’t know if they exist.

“The kind of job Huggs did this year was absolutely amazing.”

Next year’s team will feature seven new faces, including six freshmen.

“You can’t make judgments right now,” Hahn said. “I always tell people, ‘Freshmen, you know how good they are when they become sophomores and juniors.’ It’s a pretty good group on paper, and hopefully, we can continue to put the pieces together and be able to make a run at it again.”

WVU will be helped by a trip overseas in August — giving the new players time to come together.

That and the fact that Kevin Jones decided against trying for an NBA career — he had put his name in the mix but hadn’t hired an agent — and will return next season can’t hurt the young team.

“Huggs said during the entire thing that Kevin Jones is a smart kid,” Hahn said. “Huggs pretty much knew he would make the right decision. He tested the waters a little bit, and he found out he probably wasn’t going to be a first-round pick. If you aren’t going to be a first-round pick, there’s no reason to come out early.”

Only first-round picks get guaranteed contracts.

Then, of course, it was recently announced that Dalton Pepper will not return, transferring closer to home (Temple) to be close to his ill father. Recently, he had resigned his scholarship papers (they are renewed on a yearly basis).

“A very sad situation for everybody involved,” Hahn said. “It’s discouraging to be honest with you. He’s going to stay home to be close to his dad who just had heart surgery. You can’t blame him for that. He was likely going to start and play 30 minutes for us. He was light years ahead of the new kids. It’s just sad to see him go.”

But, as Hahn knows, you never count out a Bob Huggins team.

— E-mail: demorrison@

register-herald.com

 

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Hamrick deserves praise for pursuit of D’Antoni

    Sometimes gambles don’t pay off, but some risks simply have to be taken.

    April 23, 2014

  • WVU post-spring depth chart filled with few surprises

    Although the contents brought about as much of a surprise as a over the hill balloon at a 40th birthday party, there were a few interesting nuggets in the post-spring depth chart that West Virginia University sent out Wednesday morning.

    April 23, 2014

  • Clutch hitting leads WVU over Marshall

    Junior catcher Cam O’Brien finished  a home run away from the cycle and scored three runs as the WVU baseball team defeated Marshall, 10-3, on Wednesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 23, 2014

  • Gardner improving with broken neck

    Joedy Gardner, a well-known former West Virginia basketball player and coach, is much improved after having broken his neck in Phoenix, Ariz., several months ago.

    April 23, 2014

  • 042314 trickett Mountaineers have benefited from incoming football transfers

    Recruiting in college football seems to get more and more attention every season. Websites like Scout.com and Rivals.com stalk the high school sidelines and blow up potential recruits’ cell phones in search of the latest information. But there’s one important aspect that often goes ignored — transfers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • WVU baseball pounds Terps

    The offense had 16 hits and sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out six as the West Virginia University baseball team routed Maryland 14-2 on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 22, 2014

  • Crutchfield not interested in Division I job

    You would think Jim Crutchfield would be a great candidate for a head basketball coach’s job at an NCAA Division I university.
    But the Clarksburg native keeps saying that he’s perfectly content in that role at West Liberty, a Division II powerhouse. His 10-year record there is an absolutely amazing 272-49. Significantly, 10 of those defeats came in his first year at the West Liberty helm.

    April 22, 2014

  • Stepping up: Kelly racking up wins for Lions

    Sundays have become red-letter days for Chris Kelly.

    April 22, 2014

  • Paul Popovich, now 73, wishes he were playing baseball today

    If you’re a longtime baseball fan, you may recall Morgantown’s Paul Popovich.

    April 22, 2014

  • Hiring an interim while waiting on D’Antoni would be an injustice

    The search for Marshall’s new men’s basketball coach remained in a holding pattern over the Easter weekend while the Los Angeles Lakers put off their decision on coach Mike D’Antoni’s future until this week.

    April 21, 2014