The Kinder Garden - 3/1/02

Drew Catlett has often been lumped together with his uncle Gale in the eyes of many Mountaineer fans.

While that is definitely not fair, it's simply a reality in today's "quick read" world. We make opinions quickly with bite sized bits of information, and rarely reexamine our views.

I'll admit I am as guilty of that as anyone. They shared the last name, so they must be the same, right? Wrong. Drew Catlett's responses to questions in his few press conferences as interim head coach have allowed us all to get a better understanding of him as an individual.

Catlett has been very honest in his answers to questions, and has yet to duck anything aimed at him, even though his situation has to be pretty stressful. I was particularly impressed with his response to a question about whether or not the entire assistant staff would be back next season.

"In all probability, no," Catlett said forthrightly. "I'd love to be the next head coach here, but I understand the situation. And if someone new comes in, that coach has to have the right to select his staff."

That's just one of the many straightforward answers that Catlett has made during his brief tenure at the top. And that's not the only way he's distinguished himself. He's made tough (and correct) decisions, such as suspending Chris Garnett for the final two games of the season.

Garnett has reportedly been a disruptive force on the team throughout the season. But it would have been easy for Catlett to keep him around, especially when he would have provided another big body to battle Georgetown and Pitt. However, Catlett made the call to suspend him, because it was the best thing for the program, even though it could hurt Catlett in the short term. I respect him for that.

Almost everyone realizes that Catlett is the longest of long shots to get the head coaching job at WVU next fall. However, with the integrity and honesty that he's shown over the past month, he should get a shot somewhere soon.

* * *

Remember Robert Whaley? The 6-foot-10 freshman is the leading scorer at Barton County Community College at 15.8 points per game. Whaley is also averaging 6.6 rebounds per contest while shooting 56 percent from the field.

Whaley is reportedly not giving interviews this season, but his coach, Ryan Wolf, told the Kansas City Star that he is progressing well at Barton.


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