Huggs talks depth, transfers on Big 12 call

Bob Huggins talked about a variety of different topics during the first Big 12 coaches teleconference of the basketball season Monday afternoon.

During the call, Huggins talked about his West Virginia team's fast start - the No. 21 Mountaineers are off to an 8-1 start after Sunday's victory against Northern Kentucky. He attributed WVU's start to his team's depth and its ability to play its uptempo style.

"They all do some things differently," Huggins said. "I think we can legitimately play 10 or 11 guys, and hopefully our 10 or 11 guys are better than their 10 or 11 guys. Our one through five might not be as good, but hopefully our 10 is."

Thanks to that added depth this season, the Mountaineers have been able to allow its players to rest more and be fresher when they enter the game. While this has forced some players to be on the floor less than they were a year ago, they have still been able to be just as productive while still being able to play as hard as they possibly can throughout the entire game thanks to the extra rest.

One player who has been a big example of this is senior point guard Juwan Staten. Staten was selected the Big 12's preseason Player of the Year after scoring more than 18 points per game and leading the Big 12 in minutes, playing 37.3 minutes per game.

This season, Staten is averaging 15 points and 4.2 assists per game while playing just 29.7 minutes per game. Huggins is hoping that the fact that his players won't be forced to play as much as they did a year ago will mean they will be able to last longer this season.

"We've got plenty of people (WVU can put in the game) to rest him. I don't think it's a bad thing," Huggins said. "(Staten) is not going to be able to play at the pace that we're playing at that amount of minutes and we don't want him to. I think he got worn down at the end of last year."


Huggins also talked, once again, about the transfer epidemic in college basketball and ways it can be solved. He spoke at length about it Monday, and gave his ideas for how to deal with players who are able to play immediately at their new schools if they want to move to be closer to family members or loved ones who are sick.

"We may be better served if they didn't play that year, and give them another year of eligibility," the veteran head coach said. "They should be with that loved one and not playing basketball and traveling that year.

"If you're really going to transfer for health reasons, then why don't you really be there for the person having health problems?"


The Mountaineers don't play again until Sunday when they take on Marshall in the Capital Classic in Charleston.

It will be the first time Huggins has faced new Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni. Although Huggins doesn't know Dan quite as much as his brother Mike, who is the former head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, there is a history with the two families.

"Mike and I have gotten together a few times. We played Mike's team in Italy when we took a tour of Italy one time," Huggins said. "My dad knows their father very well. He was at Mullens for a long time and he was in Chesapeake in Ohio. He and my dad know each other very well."


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