5 Questions (posted late, I know), with The Smoking Musket. My answers to their questions on St. John's on the Smoking Musket site; apologies for not being able to post the responses until now, TSM, won't happen again. Later I'll post on the savage street beatdown that was the loss against West Virginia.
1. I know that West Virginia had some concerns with ballhandling and the health of the point guards on the roster. But the Mountaineers are doing fine… how did the issues resolve themselves?
2. The ‘Eers are doing very well – my Mountaineer friends are extremely excited (and as a St. John’s fan, I’m jealous). Tell us about the job Bob Huggins has done. What do you like and dislike about the team? What’s the team’s potential this year?
The problem was solved by Bob Huggins' coaching abilities and time.
Huggins has ridden Truck [Bryant] from day one in an attempt to get him to stop over-penetrating and protect the ball. Truck was hard headed and did not listen early in the season. Huggins pulled him from the starting line-up and sat his butt down on the bench for long stretches of a lot of games. This showed Truck that he had to change his style and he has.
Time has healed the wounds of Joe Mazzula, although he took a hard bump during the Pitt game and left the floor early. He got some treatments yesterday and looks to be alright for tomorrow’s game.
This team has Final Four potential, especially if the Deniz "The Instan-bull" Kilicli can be a big inside presence. I truly feel this team can go all the way.
Bob Huggins has taken the West Virginia program to the next level. The caliber of athletes he recruits and style of play he teaches makes us dangerous every year. I love that first and foremost he wants his players to be tough on the defensive end of the court. You can miss a good shot and stay in the game but if you miss an assignment on defense, your ass is on the bench.
That is also one of the things I like the least about Huggs. I sometimes feel that he is too tough on his players. Granted, it only takes a momentary lapse in judgment to cost you a game but benching a guy in the first minute of the first half is a bit extreme.
3. Roster questions: If you can, give me a rundown on the roster – guards, wings, bigs. Who are the best players? Who are the ones that shouldn’t be getting time? Is Deniz Kilicli going to be awesome, and how will he change the team?
Da’Sean Butler - He is our best player and will be 1st Team All Big East. Da is our go to guy and score from anywhere on the court. His silky smooth spin move can make anyone look silly
Devin Ebanks - Great defensive player and still developing his offensive game. He is a beast on the boards and has potential to be a lottery pick
Kevin Jones - Good for 14 points and 8 boards a game. Great mid-range jumper and has recently been stroking from 3 point land.
Truck Bryant - Controlling the offense and really running things well. He is constantly better and could be great. If his outside shot gets more consistent, we will be really dangerous.
Joe Mazzulla - He has absolutely not shot outside of a layup. He will piss your best player off on the defensive end.
Deniz Kilicili - Looked great offensively in his first action against Pitt. Really soft hands and a nice touch around the basket. Still leaves a lot to be desired on the defensive end and needs to get into game shape.
Wellington Smith - Great outside shot and can block shots.
John Flowers - Can block shots and is a good rebounder.
Casey Mitchell - Terrible on defense and has not found his shot yet this season.
Nobody else matters.
4. What is with all the damned yellow suits on Huggins?
Huggins has only a gold suit once and he apologized immediately afterwards. He said it will never happen again and we all thank him for it.
5. What's propelled West Virginia to such a great record? is it the offense? is it the defense? Looking at the defensive numbers, it seems the team isn't that great at preventing made shots, but great at stopping offensive rebounds/ second chances, and forces turnovers.
Not allowing second chance shots is huge for our team. I think that is the key for our team on defense.
Offensively we get second chance shots.