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COLUMN: In remaining days, Josh Eilert displays on what might need been at WVU

MORGANTOWN — The clock doesn’t cease ticking for nobody, and what was as soon as months is now right down to its remaining days for Josh Eilert and his tenure because the WVU males’s basketball coach.

Very quickly it will likely be hours, then minutes after which, effectively, a brand new starting for this system.

“It hasn’t soured it any means,” Eilert mentioned Tuesday, on his outlook on remaining within the teaching career. “On the finish of the day, it’s about pouring your self into younger males who’re going to turn out to be fathers and husbands. In the event you can have a optimistic influence, it goes means past basketball.”

In his thoughts, Eilert desires to nonetheless be teaching subsequent season. In his coronary heart, he’s seemingly already come to phrases that he gained’t be the top coach at West Virginia, in that the Mountaineers’ 9-20 total report this season hasn’t been something near a joyride for all concerned.


Which brings us to Wednesday’s Senior Day house finale in opposition to TCU (19-10, 8-8 Large 12), a 7 p.m. tip-off that may have fun six WVU seniors.

Jesse Edwards, Akok, Akok, RaeQuan Battle and Quinn Slazinski are fifth-year seniors.

Kerr Kriisa and Pat Suemnick will earn their school levels in Could, and whereas they each nonetheless have the COVID 12 months of eligibility remaining, they’ll stroll, too.

Noah Farrakhan can be a senior, however he won’t earn his diploma this semester and nonetheless has eligibility remaining, so he gained’t stroll.

Outdoors of Suemnick, the remainder of that group had been in Morgantown for such a brief period of time, lower than a 12 months.

They had been a part of a highly-regarded switch portal class that seemingly couldn’t get off the launching pad.

all the explanations, whether or not it’s NCAA eligibility, NCAA suspensions, medical points or accidents. In the long run, that group could have solely performed a handful of video games collectively on the identical time.

What if that wasn’t the case, although? What if all of them had been obtainable from Day 1 and all through the season?

“It will have been a major distinction for positive,” Eilert mentioned. “If we had gone to Italy with a full roster (over the summer time), and also you’re constructing these relationships and constructing that chemistry in August fairly than attempting to determine the final two or three items of the roster …”

It didn’t occur that means, clearly, however it’ll all the time be the one unknown if anybody ever decides to look again on this 2023-24 season within the years to return.

The hope was there again in November for this workforce just because somebody ranked this switch group forward of so many others.

Now, we’re unsure if that somebody actually knew what they had been speaking about, however the rating was there, it created some hype and all of us rolled with it.

What are we to suppose now, although?

There is no such thing as a doubt Edwards is proficient and his talents at 6-foot-11 are distinctive to some other massive man at WVU since, effectively, possibly generations have handed because the program has had somebody like him.

So, he’s completely different. He’s distinctive. He’s enjoyable to observe.

Totally different doesn’t imply higher, although. Distinctive doesn’t imply he’s effectively suited to 18 video games of Large 12 motion.

Kriisa performs with no restraint, an open fashion of play that resembles what one of the best gamers do on the playground.

He’s entertaining past all else. Gifted? You guess.

Battle is an offensive dynamo, with the power to make powerful pictures. It’s most likely been because the days of Frank Younger has WVU had a participant who might take any shot and anticipate to make it.

Within the Large 12, you’ve bought to man up and play protection, too, which is the place each Kriisa and Battle by no means fairly matched up.

It’s extra than simply saying protection is an element. Within the Large 12, it’s a lifestyle.

“There may be loads of talent,” Eilert mentioned of his group. “Expertise takes time to gel. We by no means actually had that point to gel, or I used to be naive sufficient to suppose it could gel instantly, which was by no means the case.

“The largest downside for us is measurement and power. Dimension and power on this league are important, and I don’t suppose we had sufficient to compete evening in and evening out. In loads of methods, we had the talent, however we lacked the physicality to compete evening in and evening out. That was our greatest problem.”

Had this turn out to be actually an open courtroom kind of workforce placing up 85 factors a recreation, which might be what Eilert had envisioned at first, issues might have been a little bit completely different.

For thus many causes it by no means materialized, and we might by no means know what this group’s full potential was.

That will go for Eilert, too, who gained’t be celebrated on Senior Day, however it could simply be his remaining recreation within the WVU Coliseum, too.

“I haven’t put an excessive amount of thought into that,” he mentioned. “I’ve been right here 17 years in about each capability. I’m not going to let these feelings get one of the best of me. I’m going to take the chance to be there.

“I believe as a society we now have a tough time dwelling within the current. We fear in regards to the previous and we’re involved with what the long run may maintain, however we by no means respect the current. I’ve bought another alternative, I do know that for positive. I’m going to go on the market with a smile on my face.”


WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: WVU Coliseum
TV: ESPN+ (On-line subscription wanted)