Fringe Benefits

In addition to an excellent summer trip, head coach John Beilein believes that his team received, and will reap, a number of additional benefits from their recent European journey.

"We got to practice for a week, and we got to see a lot of players in game situations that hand't had that experience yet," John Beilein said as he ticked off good things that resulted from the six-game trip. "But probably the bigges tthink is that the team took another step in becoming a better family. Of course everyone has bad days - the best family in America has them - but the team had the chance to experience a lot of things together."

On the court, transfer Mike Gansey was the breakout star, but that didn't come as much of a surprise to the WVU staff. Although Beilein admitted to being a bit surprised when he looked at Gansey's numbers after some contests, he said he expected good play from the wiry swingman.

"I saw him in practice enough to know that he could play, but what we didn't know was how he would react to game situations," Beilein explained. "We couldn't teach him a position last year, so he only got to work on fundamentals and skills. This year, we asked him to learn a position in about a week's worth of practice, and he did what it takes some guys a year to accomplish."

Gansey lead the team in minutes played (27.4 per game), scoring (15.6 ppg), and steals (19).

In addition to Gansey, Beilein planned to get a lot of work for Nick Patella and Brad Byerson, both of whom are coming off redshirt seasons.

"Nick had some early struggles, but we wanted to get him some big minutes to see what he could do. He became more solid as the week went on, especially in his decision making.

"Part of that was due to the 24-second shot clock. With a 35-second clock, when we reset the offense, we usually have about 16 seconds left," the third-year coach explained. "Over there, it was like six seconds. And then, if you have a problem, it's about two seconds. That's a big difference. But, we hope to get minutes from him this year.

"We didn't get Brad a lot of minutes until the last game, but he can help us on the boards this year. We're still working with him on the team concepts. We're treating him like a freshman this year, and you need to remember that we didn't lose any forwards off last year's team. But he will bring it when he gets the chance."


Gansey's play, along with the return of Nick Patella, gives WVU five guards that Beilein feels comfortable playing (Jarmon Durisseau-Collins, Patrick Beilein and Joe Herber are the others.) Add incoming freshman Darris Nichols to the mix, and the Mountaineers appear to be well-stocked in the backcourt.

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Beilein's double duty as both head coach and tour coordinator made for a busy trip.

"When you are the tour guy and the head coach, there's a lot of I's to dot and T's to cross. We didn't know how things would work out, but we got through without any major flaws. We had some minor travel issues, and tha language barrier can be difficult, but for the most part things went well."

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Frank Young played at both forward positions on the trip, and was cited by Beilein for his shooting off the bench.

"Last year, Patrick was the only one who showed the ability to come off the bench and hit shots. Franks showed some of that for us on the trip."

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Joe Herber was only supposed to miss one game on the trip due to obligations to the German national team, but ended up missing three. That did allow some other players more court time, but hurt from a preparation standpoint, as Herber missed all of the extra practice sessions in Morgantown as well as half of the games.

As was the case lst year, Herber will not return to WVU until mid-September, as he continues to play with the German National team.

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Beilein has pushed back the individual instruction workouts (limited to four players at a time) for a couple of weeks. The team will begin lifting again today, and has scheduled some playing time on their own, but individual work will be limited to film study over the first two weeks of school.

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