MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Friday will mark the unofficial beginning of WVU’s men’s basketball season, and interim head coach Josh Eilert spoke with the media for the final time before the Mountaineers’ charity exhibition against George Mason.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Eilert’s availability:
On October 14th, WVU scrimmaged against Vanderbilt in a one-possession loss that ended in overtime.
“It was a very, very competitive game,” Eilert said. “There [were] 23 lead changes, it went into overtime. We were down [by] two [and] had a shot to win it. I wasn’t real excited about how we executed [the final play]. I didn’t call a timeout when there was about 12 seconds to go, and I let them play through it, and we forced a three when we probably should’ve went downhill.”
Eilert is happy to have more film against a new opponent, and he deemed the scrimmage against Vanderbilt a success for both programs. His biggest critique came from WVU’s performance on the defensive boards.
“We’ve drilled that, and drilled that,” Eilert said. “Hopefully [it] got through to them [that] before we run out, we’ve got to check our man…We certainly got to do the job on our defensive rebounding side of things before we run out, and not put all that pressure on one or two guys.”
Accounting for Battle’s absence
Eilert spoke at length Wednesday about RaeQuan Battle’s transfer waiver being denied by the NCAA, and you can find his entire thoughts and a recap on his words here.
According to Eilert, WVU took into account the possibility of Battle sitting out the year during offseason workouts, and they practiced accordingly.
“It’s certainly a challenge,” Eilert said. “I’ve kind of operated [with] that from Day 1. I knew this was going to be in limbo, so I’ve got a lot of guys reps that probably wouldn’t have got as many reps had I known that [Battle] was eligible immediately.”
As for potentially adding players at the semester break, Eilert does not have any immediate intentions of looking to expand his roster.
“We working with what we’ve got, and that’s what we’re going to go with,” Eilert said.
Assistant coaching responsibilities
Former WVU player and current assistant coach Alex Ruoff also spoke with the media Wednesday, and he provided context for the team’s assistant coaching responsibilities.
Ruoff and Jordan McCabe are primarily working with the guards. Da’Sean Butler is in charge of the big men, and DerMarr Johnson is responsible for the wing players.
“That allows to dig deep and be able to hold kids more accountable, and be more detailed [when] we cut film and stuff,” Ruoff said.
He also noted that the team is spending less time doing full-team workouts and practices than in years past in order to give each player ample individual attention in position-specific workouts.