MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins spoke to the media, virtually, following Saturday’s 23-point loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater.
It’s the second largest loss of the season for WVU.
Here are the biggest takeaways from his press conference.
Lack of passers
Not only has West Virginia had a hard time shooting the ball this season, but passing has been an area of concern for Huggins for most of this year.
The Mountaineers average just over 10 assists per game.
“We’ve had a hard time passing the ball all year,” Huggins said. “We’re open, we just don’t throw them the ball.”
Huggins has spoken at length this year about the difficulties this team has had at running offensive sets and getting results. That appeared to have changed over the course of the the last few games.
But similar problems reappeared Saturday against the Cowboys.
“The hardest thing with this team to do is find the guy to pass the ball. Find the guy who can make the correct pass,” said Huggins. “We come off, we’re open. We don’t throw them the ball. So then I’m like, I’m on them, ‘Throw it to the first open guy.’ Well now they’re looking at the first open guy, he’s not open but the screener is, and we don’t give them a look.”
As a result, Huggins added, the Mountaineers didn’t score inside.
Battle in the paint
West Virginia was outscored 40-16 in the paint, and was outrebounded by a margin of 48-24.
“We got big boy’d,” Huggins said.
Huggins stated that WVU was at a size disadvantage in this game.
Oklahoma State does feature seven players listed at 6-feet, 7-inches or taller, but Moussa Cisse, who stands at 6-10, had an 18-point, 10-point double-double.
The Cowboys also have the two best shot blockers in the Big 12 Conference in Cisse and Kaleb Boone, who combined for three in the contest.
In line with the passing issues, Huggins was asked about the passing backgrounds of some of the players on this team. Specifically, whether or not they had been previously taught, or had previously ran, offensive schemes where you constantly look for players coming off screens, or doing the screening themselves.
His answer: “There’s so much going on in high school gymnasiums that you can’t do what you used to do. You can’t be in there for two hours,” he said. “It’s hard to go over everything you that got to go over in a shorter period of time.”
Huggins, who has spoken multiple times this year about the need for improved fundamentals from his players, pointed to the fundamentals of the game that don’t get properly taught. In his mind, this comes from less teaching and learning, and more playing, during high school years.
“There’s not enough time to go over everything, the fundamental things that you need to know, “said Huggins, who added he’s not blaming high school coaches for this trend. “To answer your question, no we’re not very good fundamentally, and we spent all summer trying to do it.”