West Virginia's Bob Huggins and Teyvon Myers Discuss Defensive Improvements, Expectations for Saturday's Scrimmage

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - With a football team that is sitting at 6-0 and starting to creep into conversations about being a potential playoff contender it might be hard for West Virginia fans to believe that basketball is right around the corner. But believe it or not, the season will kick off in just over two weeks and the Mountaineers will play their first real scirmmage of the season on Saturday evening in Beckley.

As a fan there probably won't be too much to take away from West Virginia's scrimmage against WVU Tech in Beckley on Saturday evening. The expectations for most are to see a dominating performance by the bigger, faster, stronger and frankly more talented Mountaineers. But Bob Huggins, who is in is fourth decade of coaching and entering his 10th season at the helm for the Mountaineers, can still glean valuable intelligence from the performance and the number one thing he wants to see out of the Mountaineers is better ball security.

"We have to take better care of the ball," Huggins said. "If we take better care of the ball then we'll be pretty good. Generally speaking we're making shots but we have to value possessions better. That's probably everybody at this time of year."

The scrimmage will be the first time that the Mountaineers have faced any kind of opposition in a game-like setting and Huggins is excited to see how his team responds to running up and down the court for real, something it hasn't done too much of in the first few weeks of practice.

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"We just haven't gone up and down the court a lot," Huggins said. "It's hard to teach and run up and down at the same time and we have to start running up and down. We get to play Saturday which is good and the following Sunday we have a scrimmage and then the following week we play. It's about time we start running up and down more than we have."

Although it can be hard to teach lessons without some real experience Huggins has been able to glean some intelligence about his team and made note that this year's team already looks to be better in transition than some of the teams in years past.

"We're better in transition," Huggins said. "We score more frequently in transition than we have but we still have to have guys rebound the ball. We have to rebound the ball."

Huggins also made note that it has been challenging to get newcomers Maciej Bender, Chase Harler and Sagaba Konate up to speed while trying to work with some of the older, more experienced players as well.

"It's a good thing but it's a hard thing because we're trying to get Maciej and Sags and Chase caught up and at the same time you try not to bore the other guys to death," Huggins said. "It would be different if (the newcomers) weren't going to be a big part of what we do but they're going to be a big part of what we do. We have to get those guys caught up but our guys have been really good with them."

One player who started coming into his own down the stretch of last season was junior college transfer Teyvon Myers. At times, Myers showed flashes and came off the bench to provide instant offense, but there were certainly some games when Myers had a short leash and played sparingly. That of course is because under head coach Bob Huggins you will not see the floor unless you can play defense. Myers made note that he is about "30 times better" this year and has placed a heavy emphasis on improving his skillset on the defensive end.

"(Myers biggest adjustments were) speed, learning how to score in the offense and defense," Myers said. "Defense was my biggest struggle."

In order to play the style of defense that Huggins demands, Myers said he put in the extra work in the offseason and feels he will not be a liability in the Mountaineers' frenetic full court press.

"I just worked really hard this offseason," Myers said. "I noticed that every guard locks up on this team and I was really tired of people inbounding the ball on my side of the pres and I took that into consideration and started locking in."

It is often a tough adjustment for players to play hard-nosed defense at the college level because in today's game defense is not emphasized at any level the way that Bob Huggins likes to teach it. Myers admitted that before getting to West Virginia, he had never truly been taught or asked to play defense.

"Honestly no," Myers answered when he asked about whether or not he had been asked to play defense. "I have always been a scorer. (Defense) is important when you notice that your team is losing and you need defense to win. Coach Huggs is big on defense and now he doesn't really need to say anything to me on defense."

Another thing Huggins' teams are often known for is toughness, and it's no surprise that Myers feels this year's team has an abundance of it.

"I feel like we're going to be really tough this year," Myers said. "Our guards are really tough, our bigs are tough and we have tough freshmen. Once you have a tough core then you can beat anybody."

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