Lack of Hype

While football signing day in early February is surrounded by a great deal of fanfare, the basketball counterpart isn't as big of a deal at West Virginia -- yet.

Although WVU expects to sign six players today -- one of its largest classes in recent memory -- on the first day of the basketball week-long early signing period, the anticipation that hangs over the Puskar Center won't be evident in the basketball offices at the Coliseum. There are a couple of reasons for that, and as might be expected, they start with head coach John Beilein.

While many coaches wait impatiently for the fax machine to begin spewing out copies of signed letters of intent, Beilein prefers to wait for the real documents -- in this case, delivered by Fed Ex. For that reason, WVU likely will not make any official announcements of signings until Thursday, when all of the letters have arrived in Morgantown.

Second, with West Virginia's football game against Cincinnati tonight on national television, announcements of signings would likely get pushed to the back pages of the sports sections on Thursday morning. With an eye toward creating as much publicity as possibile, holding the release of signings for a day in which they can be highlighted on their own makes a good deal of sense.

Finally, although West Virginia has landed what appears to be an excellent class, and one that fits its needs very well as it looks to replace the five seniors that will be departing, it's still not rated highly by national observers. that means less column inches and Internet bytes for WVU's class, with an attendant lack of attention on the local level as well.

In a way, however, this approach probably fits the Mountaineer program the best. An understated approach, with the team concept paramount above all, is the hallmark of John Beilein's program, so it's not a surprise to see the Mountaineers treat signing day with the same sort of low key approach.

WVU Basketball Class of 2006


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