When WVU signees David Nyarsuk and Noah Cottrill squared off at the Charleston Civic Center on Wednesday, it wasn't expected to be a literal match-up.
After all, Nyarsuk, a seven-foot center at Mountain State Academy, and Cottrill, a feisty six-foot something guard playing his final year at Logan High School, don't exactly play the same position or share the same skills on the court. However, there they were, on more than one occasion, face-to-face, as Cottrill either drove the lane or came off screens while Nyarsuk hedged over the picks or moved to defend in the paint. Each has his share of successes, but there wasn't much conversation between the duo, who will become teammates next year at West Virginia.
"I've met him, but I haven't talked to him much yet," said Cottrill, who greeted his future passing target with a hug at mid-court introductions before the game. "It should be good to play with him."
In this contest, Cottrill took individual honors, scoring 30 points, but Nyarsuk's talent-laden Mountain State squad won the war by the count of 79-55. The Sudan native scored three points and had six rebounds while splitting time with sophomore Obij Aget, also of the Sudan.
Following are a few notes and observations on each.
Continues to play the point with an aggressive streak. Consistently puts pressure on defenders with drives and penetration. MSA tried to defend him with both bigger players (6-7 wings) and quick point guards (Jabs Newby) but neither could keep him out of the lane for from getting shots away. Needs to show a bit better judgement at times, but his attack first mentality is something not all players possess.
Court vision is peerless. Can pull up at any time and dish the ball to any teammate at any angle. More than once, teammates not ready for passes saw the ball whiz right by them, turning potential open shots into turnovers.
Had only one brief break of five seconds, playing almost the entire game. Seemed to be in great condition -- never stopped competing even when the outcome of the game was decided.
Took the ball right at both Nyarsuk and Aget in the lane, and scored on a scoop shot and a lay-up against them.
It's difficult to get a read on all of Nyarsuk's skills, given the up-and-down style of play MSA shows. With so many college-bound players on the roster, the ball simply doesn't make it into the post very often on offense. However, Nyarsuk does have a soft shot, albeit with a bit of a hitch. Works on positioning, and when he does get the ball, does a good job of keeping it up high where smaller defenders can't reach it.
Defensively, Nyarsuk moves his feet well, and has shown improvement even over the past month. He gets out over tops of screens to cut off dribblers (doing that even to Cottrill on more than one occasion) and then moves quickly back into position to defend the post. He does not chase shots that he can't get to, and works on blocking out no matter the size of his opponents. Is clearly concentrating on fundamentals. Has tremendous length, and can snare rebounds and loose balls that aren't directly in his area.