Big 12 Media Day Notebook
KANSAS CITY - As usual, West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins had them laughing at this year’s Big 12 media day. Huggins was the last coach on the stage during this morning’s annual gathering of coaches and players at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, but the wait was certainly well worth it.
Asked if he thought having previously coached in the Big 12 will be helpful to his team Huggins replied, “I know where to go eat.”
Huggins said one of the places that he didn’t get to go to was Lubbock, Texas, during his one year in the conference because the Big 12 had two divisions at the time.
“I almost wanted to stay (at Kansas State) just so I could go to Lubbock the next year,” he joked.
Regarding sophomore guard Gary Browne
being one of the team’s ball handlers and distributors on this year’s team Huggins answered, “We finally have some guards. We were the only team in America that didn’t recruit guards.”
Huggins was asked about the distance his team is going to have to travel to play road games this year.
“They asked me who our rivalry in the conference is going to be and I said it’s probably Iowa State. They’re the closest, only 853 air miles away,” he said.
Huggins recalled his team encountering some travel issues going out to Wichita, Kan., last year that forced them to get back to Morgantown at 5 a.m. the next morning. His team then had to turn around and play Miami in an afternoon game two days later.
“We were fortunate enough to win both of those games,” he said. “Maybe I screw them up over coaching them. Now they won’t have to listen to me as much. I thought maybe we’d just stay the night and come back the next day but they don’t sleep anyway. After a while, it takes them a while to go to sleep and they sleep better on the plane anyway.
“Have you ever noticed those guys sleep better sitting down than they do lying down? You put them in a chair and they go right to sleep. Tell them to go to bed and they won’t ever go.”
The coach was asked to comment on Kansas’ dominance of the league that has continued since he last coached in the Big 12 in 2007.
“I don’t know who has a bigger home court advantage than KU has,” he said. “We went in there and lost by, I think it was 106, my year at Kansas State. My 7-2 center fouled out in like seven minutes. It’s a hard deal.”
Finally, Huggins was asked if he will make any changes in his team’s style of play to account for the move to the Big 12 this year.
“If we are, I’m not smart enough to do it,” he said.Briefly:
- Huggins believes West Virginia is a great match with the Big 12 Conference for a number of reasons. “We’re a lot like the other schools in the Big 12,” he said. “We’re the state university. We’re a land grant institution. We have great facilities. I think we did a great job of getting people who were like the schools that are already in the Big 12. We’re a college town – much like the schools in the Big 12.”
- The coach had more to say about the impressive program Bill Self has built at Kansas. “When you talk about KU winning all of those (Big 12 titles), I think there is one guy really responsible and that’s Bill,” Huggins said. “He’s a great coach. Of course, having all those players doesn’t hurt anything either, just in case you were wondering.”
- Huggins also pointed out that he would like to see his team get up and down the floor a little more this year than it has in the past.
“We’re going to try and go back and play a little faster,” he said. “I’d actually like to see us score once in a while. We’ve struggled with that. We just couldn’t play very fast but we’re going to try and play a little faster and maybe do some of the things that we did when I was at Cincinnati. I didn’t really like playing as slow as we had to play, but you have to do what you have to do.”
Fans will get an opportunity to see the team for the first time on Friday evening as part of the Gold-Blue Debut, presented by Coke Zero. The 40-minute officiated scrimmage will get underway at 7:30 p.m. at the WVU Coliseum.