MORGANTOWN — By way of expectations, Josh Eilert isn’t prepared to position any on his first WVU males’s basketball staff, which didn’t change a lot with Friday’s Mountaineers Insanity occasion.
“I don’t suppose it’s actually honest to have these conversations but,” Eilert mentioned. “The last word aim is to get to the NCAA match with the very best seed.
“I had these guys get collectively and do their staff objectives. So many instances over time, I’ve seen lofty, lofty objectives.”
Regardless of what this Mountaineers program has been via — with the resignation of former coach Bob Huggins to the hiring of Eilert because the interim — as soon as it turns into nearly basketball, gamers are all the time going to need the very best outcomes.
“We’re going to have a hell of a yr for certain,” Arizona switch Kerr Kriisa mentioned. “We’ve got an entire new staff, however for us, it’s extra about being excited. We’ve got nothing to lose. We’ll have a chip on our shoulder.
“I feel individuals are doubting us, which I feel it’s higher that method. I’ve been at Arizona, the place we had been a No. 1 and No. 2 seed in back-to-back years, and it’s not all the time simple to cope with expectations.”
There’s lot to doubt about this staff in the meanwhile, particularly since we’re now in October and we nonetheless don’t know what the ultimate roster will appear to be but.
That reply will come ultimately, after the NCAA decides on guard RaeQuan Battle’s eligibility.
But it additionally felt totally different contained in the Coliseum on Friday. The most important cheers throughout introductions the place for assistant coaches Da’Sean Butler and Alex Ruoff, two former standouts from years passed by.
Every thing else was dampened curiosity for essentially the most half.
We don’t know what this staff is able to. We don’t know what Eilert is able to as Huggins’ substitute, and so it turns into an optimistic ready sport.
May one thing particular be so as? It’s potential, however numerous issues should go the precise method.
We break it down right here:
Battle must be cleared
That third-guard or wing spot has been a form of X issue for the Mountaineers in recent times, whether or not it was Emmitt Matthews Jr., Jalen Bridges and even going again to the times of Lamont West.
In brief, it’s been some time since there was an actual influence participant at that place.
“RaeQuan’s particular. He actually is particular,” Eilert mentioned. “He’s in all probability our most pure athlete. He actually scores the ball properly. He can get himself his personal shot. However defensively, in case you return to the Press Virginia days, he’d match proper in as a result of he’s so clean and so athletic and so quick-twitched in comparison with all people else on that flooring.”
Battle is coping with an ankle harm and sat out Friday’s actions.
Taking a look at his waiver course of, it’s actually troublesome to make sense of how the NCAA is feeling in the meanwhile.
A month in the past, it wasn’t wanting good, because the NCAA appeared to be planting its flag on the hill in opposition to permitting quick eligibility to athletes who’ve transferred greater than as soon as of their careers like Battle.
After which abruptly the group cleared North Carolina large receiver Tez Walker final week, which might add some optimism right here.
Every case is totally different — particularly if you try to evaluate soccer to males’s hoops — however there now appears to be a minimum of some hope for Battle, who started his profession at Washington and used his free switch to additionally play at Montana State.
Jesse Edwards is simply totally different
In his personal phrases, the 6-foot-11 Edwards, a Syracuse switch, isn’t any banger within the put up.
“I’ve change into a fairly stable pick-and-roll heart,” mentioned Edwards, who averaged 14.5 factors and 10.3 rebounds at Syracuse final season. “That’s what I base my sport off of. That’s my profile.
“I’m increasing my vary on offense. I’m not that sluggish heart that’s going to bump all people like a Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal).”
The place WVU bigs previously — suppose Kevin Jones, Devin Wiiliams and Derek Culver — relied on measurement and muscle for positioning, Edwards confirmed Friday he’s extra method and finesse.
He additionally brings a lift of athleticism, so that you’ll probably see some extra lob dunks off penetration than earlier than.
There might also be a transition for Edwards taking part in in a extra bodily league, in addition to taking part in man-to-man protection versus the 2-3 zone he performed at Syracuse.
“I do know it’s bodily and an enormous league,” Edwards mentioned about taking part in within the Massive 12. “The groups in it are insane relating to all-over-the-board competitiveness. I’ve a sense of what it’s going to be like, however I’m wanting ahead to the problem.”
The Kriisa issue
If any of that is going to work for the Mountaineers this season, Kriisa needs to be the man making it occur.
Like Edwards, Kriisa is a sort of guard who’s perhaps extra free-flowing than the Mountaineers have had in recent times.
The Arizona switch led the Pac-12 in assists final season and WVU is coming off a yr during which it was eighth in that class.
He’s not as defensive as Jevon Carter and never as athletic as Juwan Staten, but there are components to Kriisa’s sport that exhibits he could make a significant influence as some extent guard.
“I feel I’m a artistic participant,” Kriisa mentioned. “I’d say free-flowing.I’d take into account myself a frontrunner and making an attempt to carry everybody else accountable. I need to be the very best participant I will be.”
He’ll be requested to attain extra, which suggests he’s obtained to be a greater shooter than the 36% he shot at Arizona, however he does deliver a wealth of confidence and a singular type to Morgantown.
Who’s the opposite man?
That is the place issues get fascinating for WVU, particularly if Battle isn’t cleared to play.
This may’t be a staff that depends solely on Kriisa and Edwards after which simply hopes another person will get scorching on any explicit evening.
Sophomore ahead Josiah Harris might be that man. Junior guards Seth Wilson or Kobe Johnson might be that man.
The query will likely be about consistency. Wilson made numerous powerful photographs final season, but he had only one sport during which he tried greater than seven.
Eilert has mentioned Johnson is essentially the most improved participant on the staff, but Johnson’s position could also be as a backup to Kriisa.
Harris, at 6-foot-7, might maintain some necessary playing cards to simply how good the Mountaineers will be this season.
“He’s a superb child with an excellent method,” Eilert mentioned of Harris. “He comes into work day by day. We hold speaking about rebounding, Josiah had eight rebounds in our 22-minute scrimmage. He understands the place he will be efficient for us. We need to empower him that he can hold coming in day by day and assist us.”