Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Checking in with WVU's Huggins

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

Checking in with WVU's Huggins

Article excerpt

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If you've been to the grocery store, you might have noticed the college basketball preseason magazines are out. It might be worthy of head scratching since most college football teams have only played a couple games. Yet check the calendar. Basketball practice begins on Oct. 1, just a couple weeks from now.

Also, teams have been able to practice a couple hours a week through the summer.

"It's a great orientation, said WVU men's basketball coach Bob Huggins. "It's not much more than that, but it is a great orientation.

Huggins, of course, is trying to again shape a Big 12 contender, but without double-double machine Devin Williams or long-armed Jon Holton. The backcourt - specifically Jevon Carter, Dax Miles and Tarik Phillip - will have to shoulder much of the responsibility.

"Those three guards are pretty good, Huggins said. "They've been in the gym.

Yet back to the "orientation. Those new to the gym are freshmen Maciej Bender, Chase Harler and Sagaba Konate.

"Our three freshmen coming in are all going to play, Huggins said. "We're pleased with our freshmen.

He broke it down, beginning with Konate, the 6-foot-8, 240-pound freshman said to be physically ready.

"Sags has played really well, Huggins said. "He gets better every day. He has a chance to see substantial minutes.

"Magic [Bender] missed a bunch playing over in Poland [for the U20 European Championships Division B group team], but he's starting to catch up. He's really shooting the ball well. He needs to gain muscle mass, but he's going to be able to contribute the way he is. Plus, he'll gain some between now and when the season starts.

"Then Harler will play because he plays so hard. He's got pretty good foot speed. He's athletic enough. He just plays so hard. And playing the way we play, if you play real hard, you'll get in the game.

The word on point guard James "Beetle Bolden, however, wasn't encouraging.

"He's working his way back, Huggins said. "He just hasn't done anything. When you haven't done anything for a year, it's hard. He's spent a year in rehab. There's a ton of difference between him and Lamont West. Lamont practiced every day. Lamont took a redshirt; Beetle took an injury redshirt. …

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