One thing that hasn't changed in Bob Huggins' 35 years experience of coaching is his bluntness. After the Mountaineers defeated Mount St. Mary's in the season opener Huggins gave his team a rather scathing review.
"I thought our effort sucked," Huggins said. "I think most people would say the effort was ok but not with the way we're trying to play."
Huggins did admit that West Virginia's performance could have been more energized if Daxter Miles was able to play, but the junior guard was sidelined with an illness. Huggins also said it is up in the air as to whether or not Miles will play in Monday's contest. Tarik Phillip was tasked with replacing Miles in the starting lineup and Huggins didn't seem too pleased with he performance of the senior point guard. Phillip had recently strained a muscle in one of his legs, but Huggins questioned whether or not Phillip had a head injury as well after Friday night's game.
It wasn't all doom and gloom though as Huggins praised the effort of Brandon Watkins, Nathan Adrian and Sagaba Konate. Huggins said that Adrian, who scored 13 points in the game, has been great in practice and could emerge as the Mountaineers' go-to guy in big situations as the season goes on. He also credited an attitude change for Watkins, who he said is playing because he loves the game and not just playing because he is 6-foot-9. As far as Konate goes, Huggins implied that the freshman's performance was impressive and that had competed hard against the older players all summer so it wasn't necessarily a surprise.
On the injury front, Nathan Adrian left the game in the second half but was only dealing with a minor cramping issue. Esa Ahmad is battling a nagging ankle injury and as stated before Tarik Phillip is fighting through a muscle strain. Huggins said the Mountaineers will spend most of Saturday watching film and will hit the court hard on Sunday in preparation for Monday's game against Mississippi Valley State.