Lineup competitions and the search for an eight man rotation have been the highlights of preseason basketball camp.
As preseason practices peak in intensity heading into Saturday's exhibition game, Tyler Relph
is making a strong push for big playing time, and perhaps to unseat returning starter Jarmon Durisseau-Collins at the point. Relph has gotten a good bit of playing time at the point in the past week, and has been running with the blue (first) team during drills as well.
Transfer D'or Fischer has been the first sub in for the starters, which includes Relph, Joe Herber, Drew Schifino, Tyrone Sally and Kevin Pittsnogle. Fischer has been trying to improve his aggressivness inside, and has shown the ability to take the ball up strong in the lane. He recorded several dunks in a recent scrimmage and has been a big motivational source for his teammates.
Walkon point guard Nick Patella has shaken off a pair of concussions and a head laceration to battle back for playing time at point, where he has also seen some time with the Blue team, as has fellow walkon Patrick Beilein.
With the Mountaineers still undersized in the lane, rebounding drills have focused on slashing to the basket from the perimeter, expecially on the offensive end. The guards have seemed to pick up on the desires of the coaches in this area, as rebounding from the one and two spots has improved. That's not to say that WVU will be dominating the boards, but it does give hope that West Virginia won't face as many deep deficits on the glass as they did last year.
Drew Schifino continues to show an improved shooting touch on the perimeter. Should he be able to keep it going, he will be a handful to guard this year.
Joe Herber seems to be asusming a leadership by example role with this young team. While Fischer supplies emotional motivation, the ultracool Herber has been more vocal during camp, and seems to have a steadying influence on his teammates when he is on the floor.
The decision on wheter or not to redshirt Jerrah Young and Brad Byerson has not yet been finalized, but a big clue will come on Saturday. If they don't participate in the exhibition game, that will be a strong indicator that the two will take advantage of an extra year in the Mountaineer program.