Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Huggins went away from his typical go-to guys Saturday night against Michigan, saying that they didn't deserve playing time after poor effort on the court and off it after an ugly loss to Duquesne.
Bob Huggins is angry with the 4-5 West Virginia Mountaineers, letting his team know both by benching players he didn't feel gave the necessary effort against the Michigan Wolverines and then ripping into his team in a postgame press conference.
Following a loss to Duquesne, Huggins played a drastically different rotation against Michigan than his normal crew due to a perceived lack of dedication. He left starting center Aaric Murray at home rather than bring him to New York for the showdown against the No. 3 Wolverines, played senior power forward Deniz Kilicli only nine minutes, and starting guard Jabarie Hinds only eight minutes. Instead, he gave freshmen Terry Henderson and Eron Harris career highs in minutes while bringing Volodymyr Gerun into his first career game. Some of the substitutions were due to a largely non-competitive game, but for the most part, Huggins made it clear that he was penalizing players for poor work ethic:
"Let me tell you what those moves were from," he said. "I'm sick of it. I'm sick of watching guys stand around and watching guys not compete and watching guys miss shot after shot after shot and never come early, never stay late and don't even think about coming in on an off day.
"And they're going to tell me they care? I want some guys who care. We've got a great coaching staff. We'll coach them up."
Huggins' disappointment apparently comes from several players who decided not to show up at the team's practice facility the day after their loss to Duquesne. There was no practice that day, but Huggins felt it was a bad sign that his players didn't want to improve their game after a poor showing:
"There's no way we would have lost to Duquesne and Kevin Jones wouldn't have been in the gym all day the next day," Huggins said.
As for Murray, the junior big man picked up a technical late against Duquesne, and Huggins made it clear he had no problem playing without his team's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer:
"I've left guys home that were way, way, way better than Aaric Murray. Way better than Aaric Murray, and I've left them home," Huggins said. "I've sent a couple guys home when we got there that were way, way, way better than Aaric Murray."
Next up for West Virginia is Oakland on Wednesday. It's unclear whether Huggins plans on continuing with his altered lineup as of now.