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Bob Huggins has been the head coach of West Virginia men’s basketball for a longer stretch than he was at any of his other stops. He took over the Mountaineers basketball program in 2007.
But that’s not to say Huggins does the same thing every season. He likes to mix it up. If anything, Huggins is adaptable.
Given the current college hoops landscape, that’s a good thing.
In today’s game, players transfer, enter the NBA draft, or maybe even head overseas or to the G League. So even an old-school coach such as Huggins is impacted.
For instance, the Mountaineers will have seven new players and a full roster of 15 overall this season.
“The last time I had 15 players, I was at Walsh (Ohio) College,” Huggins told the Times West Virginian, referring to his first head coaching job from 1980-83. “The hard part is there is 15 of them. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you right now our top eight to 10 guys. I couldn’t pick them out right now.”
West Virginia finished 19-10 last season and 11-6 in the Big 12, the conference from which national champion Baylor emerged.
Despite all of the newness, Huggins expects the Mountaineers to be at least as good as last season. In fact, he pretty much demands it.
So while the faces have changed, expectations have not.
“We have a bunch of guys who don’t understand what’s about to happen to them,” Huggins said. “It’s going to be a challenge. It’s going to be a learning experience for all of them.”
While Huggins has yet to figure out who will start, who will accumulate the most minutes off the bench and which lineups work best, there is one thing about WVU basketball that won’t change. That much he promised.
“We play differently than most people play,” he said. “We play harder defense than most people play.”
So for West Virginia, the more things change, it seems, the more they really will stay the same.
The Mountaineers will face Akron in a charity exhibition game Oct. 29 before opening the regular season vs. Oakland (Mich.) on Nov. 9 at home.
Follow Sam Amico @AmicoHoops