Professor Huggins Grades Players Essays

  • By Tony Caridi
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  • February 01, 2013 01:51 PM
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Bob Huggins will finish reading the essays today. No, Huggs hasn’t suddenly fallen in love with the classics from Mark Twain, T.S. Eliot, Joyce Carol Oates, or, for that matter, Vladimir Nabokov.

Instead, coach (ehem, Professor) Huggins asked each player this week to prepare an essay explaining what they can do to help make the team better.

There was no word-count minimum, it was just free-flow and let it roll. Huggins told me he would review the player's work and then meet with them to discuss implementation of their suggestions. The coach also said there may be some back and forth as to what a player perceives his strengths would be and what the reality is, but you get the point.

While Huggins said he’s used this method a few other times, you also know that this exercise is yet another of those proverbial “buttons” he’s been pressing all season to try and find something to make this team win.

The latest method … let’s call it Hoop Introspection, could prove valuable. A player tells you what he needs to do, and collectively, the information is shared among the team. Player X says I will set a screen as I’m told, player Y says I will line up in the proper position as directed, and player Z says I’ll actually switch a screen instead of leaving an opposing player wide open. You get the point.

The essays should increase accountability. We’ll see.

As for Saturday’s game against Texas Tech, don’t think for a moment that the Red Raiders (9-9) will be an easy win. That’s what happened to the WVU football team and we saw how that turned out. Yes, Tech is 8-6 at home, however, they beat Iowa State in Lubbock last week. And, the Red Raiders are rested; they’ve been off since last Saturday.

This will be just the second-ever meeting between the two schools. The last encounter came at the famed Pit in Albuquerque, N.M., during the 2005 NCAA tournament. Kevin Pittsnogle fired in 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Mountaineers into the Elite 8 with a 65-60 victory over Bob Knight’s squad. That game doesn’t get the love others do during that magical run, but it was an incredibly intense and electric atmosphere. Overall, it was a great game.

Finally, a Root Sports production crew spent time in Morgantown this week interviewing players and coaches associated with WVU’s 1998 NCAA tournament win over Cincinnati. They’ll produce an ESPN Classic-style game replay that will air in April.

We’ll be on the air at 1 p.m. in Lubbock for Saturday’s game. Tipoff for Texas Tech is 1:47 p.m.