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Huggins' challenge to be played out soon

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- March Madness is great.

Of course, it's more fun to follow if you have a team in the hunt. This past season, Mountain State fans had two dogs in Marshall and WVU that were anything but in the hunt.

Yet the hope is you're watching the Madness closely, especially if you follow WVU. Note how fine guard play lifts teams at this stage of the game.

And consider the Mountaineer team. Consider its lack thereof.

I bring this up because of a swirl of news that could turn into a vortex soon.

In a Gazette sports news story last week, WVU coach Bob Huggins inferred that his coaching staff will remain intact. He added that decisions will be made after the spring break on player personnel to avoid knee-jerk resolutions.

Of course Internet rumors never stop swirling. Scout.com said the Mountaineers have offered a scholarship to point guard Devin Wilson of Montour High in McKees Rocks, Pa. My understanding is Huggins and his staff have not offered Wilson, but have shown a lot of interest.

Wilson is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound player who reminds some of a taller ex-Mountaineer Joe Mazzulla.

My understanding is WVU has extended an offer of an official visit to Wilson. Perhaps that works out, perhaps not. The book on the player is he doesn't shoot well, but has speed and can pass.

What WVU needs is a point guard that can shoot. Whether the school can find one or not remains to be seen.

If not, though, the Mountaineers definitely need a point guard with Mazzulla's tenacity and heart.

This past season, WVU missed that almost as much as a shooter's touch and the ability to pass the ball inside. Perhaps more so.

As always, though, there is, well, guarded optimism heading into next season. Incoming four-star recruits Devin Williams and Elijah Macon are in the fold.

And, as outlined here last Wednesday, all four recruits - add Brandon Watkins and Nathan Adrian - will play on the same all-star team in the Scott Brown Classic on April 13 in Beckley.

Another player, Martinsburg High's Donte Grantham, will also participate. WVU is very interested in signing him as a small forward who could play power forward if the Mountaineers play small.

Huggins, however, will have to manage his scholarships. As I've reported before, Aaron Brown has expressed a desire to move on. Volodymyr Gerun is probably headed to Fairmont State or another Division II school.

Where the other scholarships come from will be interesting. Keaton Miles now apparently wants to stay put. Ditto Aaric Murray.

Keep in mind, Murray was thought to be a one-and-done player. Obviously, he was not. But Huggins might have planned for him to be one in regard to scholarships.

 Murray, however, has talent, and Huggins might be one of the few coaches nationally able to bring that talent out consistently.

So the challenge is set.

Will there be personnel surprises? Probably. There certainly appear to be prospects lined up (read: Grantham and, perhaps, a transfer) if more WVU players leave.

It will be a delicate process. And an interesting next few weeks.

Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, mitchvingle@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.

   

 

 

 


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