Murray Has New Motivation

WVU junior center Aaric Murray admits that sitting out last year as a transfer was very difficult for him.

"Not being able to fight with my brothers, that was probably the worst thing," Murray said as he reflected on the past season at WVU. "If we lost, I felt bad about not being able to help."

Murray had some difficult times as he sat out his transfer season after leaving LaSalle in March 2011. He was one of the last two players cut from tryouts for the World University games prior to the start of the school year, and was then absent from the WVU bench for a pair of games in mid-December. Finally, he was arrested in his hometown of Philadelphia for possession of marijuana three days before Christmas, for which he underwent undisclosed discipline from West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins.

Despite those stumbles, Murray managed to get through the tough year, and now has the motivation of actual games to keep him focused. He did form a friendship with fellow transfer Juwan Staten, who left Dayton to continue his career at West Virginia, and developed a bond with him as the players who were ineligible for competition all season.

"My attitude and my motivation is very different, because I know I am going to play this year," he said as he looked forward to the season. "Juwan and I just can't wait to play this year. We are so excited to get the season started."

The time on the sidelines wasn't all wasted, according to the 6-10, 250-pounder. Saying that "I definitely improved", Murray echoed head coach Bob Huggins' statements about the game being the easy part of playing at West Virginia. Weightlifting, conditioning and individual work with the coaches were all mentioned as factors in that improvement, and Murray is excited to see how those things measure up in on-court competition.

A center\forward who can play both in the post and high in the lane, Murray is anticipating more up-tempo play this fall – but hints that WVU won't be solely run and gun.

"We've been running a lot more, but they are going to run some plays around me," too," he said with anticipation. "We've been working hard over the summer, and we're ready to get going."

One other drawback might have marred Murray's transfer to WVU. He wanted to continue to in the east so he could face some Big East foes, but West Virginia's move to the Big 12 put the kibosh on that benefit. Still, it ended up not affecting his outlook.

"I did want to play against Villanova and those schools. We played them at LaSalle and didn't win. But it's cool. We still get to play for Coach Huggs and be a part of this, and that's good."

West Virginia, for its part, hopes that the good times are just beginning.

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