After Monday night's dominant win over Manhattan, West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Bob Huggins shared his thoughts on the game. The thing that most stuck about the game (aside from the 40 Manhattan turnovers) was the performance of Esa Ahmad, who gave the Mountaineers a huge spark in the first half, where West Virginia scored 60 points.
Huggins said he has told Ahmad to be more aggressive and shoot the ball if he is open and that is what the sophomore forward has done in the last two games, where he has posted a career-high 19 points in consecutive matches. Huggins also noted that Ahmad can cause a lot of mismatches for opposing teams and tonight he was able to find gaps in the Manhattan 1-1-3 zone, which enabled him to score 17 first half points. Huggins also noted that a reason his team scored 60 first half points was because the team moved the ball around and had several assists, but still Huggins said that aspect is in need of much improvement.
When asked about the Mountaineers' press forcing a school record 40 turnovers Huggins said that he thought the Mountaineers executed their press defense "pretty good" but also felt that the Jaspers playing a double overtime game just two days ago and not having ample time to prepare played a role in it.
After Huggins finished detailing his thoughts on the Mountaineers he fielded a few questions about the mindset of today's college basketball players. Huggins stated that he thought today's players don't understand the game nearly as well and cited a multitude of factors as a reason why, including a culture change among today's youth and the current format with AAU basketball. Huggins stated that when he was growing up more players played on the play ground and had to keep winning to keep playing, something that forced players to screen and play fundamentally sound in order to win. Today, Huggins states, you rarely see such pickup games and in today's AAU culture, players play two or three games a day and are rewarded with "burgers and pizzas" whether they win or lose. Huggins stated that "no one ever gave him a pizza after he lost."