Mountaineer Hoop Team Prepares For Trip

While many fans eagerly await the start of fall football practice, the Mountaineer basketball team has beaten their counterparts to the punch. The hoop squad has already taken to the floor to prepare for their European trip next week.

John Beilein's squad hit the floor for a late night (9:15 p.m.) practice session on Monday, and will continue that schedule on Tuesday and Wednesday as the final session of the high school Mountaineer Basketball Camp is completed. The Mountaineers will then return to a more normal practice schedule for the remainder of the week, but will also get in three two-a-day sessions before departing overseas.

"We'd rather not do it this time, but we wanted to do the camp right," siad head coach John Beilein. "The late night will not be difficult - we'll only go about an hour and 15 minutes."

These early sessions will focus on individual and team drills, and won't feature much in the way of scrimmaging or five on five action. The first night was dominated by shooting work, shell drills, and some five on four work which encourages the defense to make up for its man disadvantage by switching, running, and communicating.

According to Beilein, the plan is for the team to "get their legs back" in the erly sessions so they will be ready to put in a lot of work during the two-a-days scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The team will cap preparations with a final single practice on Sunday before leaving Morgantown on Monday, August 9.

Despite the heavy practice schedule, Beilein believes the team will get more benefit from playing the games on the tour.

"How much can you do in 6-7 days in practice?" the coach asked rhetorically. "We're going to teach 'the whole' rather than parts [of the system] because we do have a veteran team, but the game experience will be invaluable."

One item that the team is having to deal with at the moment is the renovations to the Coliseum, which has forced the squad out of their old locker rooms and workout facilities in the big mushroom. The entire ground floor underneath the seats has been gutted and is being rebuilt, but the team won't get to use their new digs until the start of their regular preseason practices begin.

WVU associate athletic director Russ Sharp says that the renovations are on schedule, but that it will be close as the contractors race to complete everything in time for the regular season. In addition to the new locker rooms, film rooms and club spaces, an elevator, new stairs, and portals for exits from the club spaces are being added, which have resulted in a loss of seats. Beilein knows, however, that a little pain in the form of temporary displacement will have substantial long term benefits.

"We're waiting on renovations in the Coliseum, and having a weight room right there will make a big difference," said the veteran coach.


On the player front, guard Joe Herber, who was at home in Germany this summer, will join the team in Holland rather than return to WVU for the week of practices.

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Both Tyrone Sally and Frank Young will get work at the three and four positions.

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Brad Byerson missed the first day of practice due to a death in the family, but was scheduled to return to the team on Tuesday.

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Mike Gansey appears to have lost none of his edge or athletic ability. He should be an upgrade both offensively and defensively.

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The Mountaineers have a tough schedule, playing six games in eight days, including the final four on four consecutive days.

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