MORGANTOWN — In case you throw in the truth that WVU ahead Akok Akok continues to be working his manner again to full type after lacking seven video games with a medical situation, Josh Eilert refers back to the Mountaineers’ scenario as “three and a half guys.”
That’s not the title for some new sitcom concept, however quite the inflow of gamers which have instantly been thrown into lively responsibility on WVU’s roster.
Kerr Kriisa and Noah Farrakhan made their season debuts Saturday evening, within the Mountaineers’ 87-79 loss towards UMass within the Corridor of Fame Basic in Springfield, mass.
Akok performed 22 minutes, probably the most within the three video games since his return.
Kriisa performed 36 minutes and scored 20 factors. Farrakhan performed 18 minutes and added 15 extra.
Battle, who Eilert mentioned misplaced 13 kilos whereas falling in poor health with the flu, didn’t play, however is predicted to make his debut on Wednesday, when WVU returns dwelling to host Radford.
And whereas the brand new additions carry optimism, in addition they carry a way of some form of restart button on a season that’s already 10 video games previous.
“Like I informed all of our guys, it’s laborious to transition one man in after 9 video games, so it’s actually laborious to transition three and a half guys in,” Eilert mentioned. “All people goes to have a brand new function on this group and so they have to simply accept that function and excel in that function.”
In some unspecified time in the future, the now expanded roster must study to play collectively, too.
Up to now weeks, as Battle’s eligibility combat was taken to a federal courtroom and Kriisa’s NCAA suspension was coming to an in depth, Eilert mentioned he continued to rotate these guys in observe with the opposite starters.
Observe reps and truly taking part in in a sport collectively, although, is kind of totally different.
“To have these guys and have some depth on the guard place was going to be essential,” Eilert mentioned. “It’s going to be a problem for us to verify our rotations are appropriate and everyone is taking part in their roles the proper manner.”
WVU (4-6) can now play at a sooner tempo on offense, however the transition there may be not simple because the bulk of the roster spent the primary 45 days of the season taking part in sluggish to preserve vitality.
With Kriisa now at level guard, his fashion of play is way totally different than what WVU skilled with Kobe Johnson at level.
“With Kerr, I don’t assume everyone was prepared for a few of the passes that he makes,” Eilert mentioned. “He’s going to place it on them and he’s a particular level guard.”
Farrakhan made his influence by driving to the basket, additionally one thing totally different that gamers need to get used to.
Johnson spent the primary 9 video games averaging 9.5 pictures per sport. He tried solely two towards UMass and didn’t rating for the primary time this season.
Jesse Edwards had his worst sport, and a wrist damage saved him out for many of the season half. The projected teamwork between him and Kriisa in pick-and-roll conditions by no means developed.
“That wrist damage scares me,” Eilert mentioned. “We’re praying that we are able to get him again wholesome earlier than later.”
As soon as the right changes are made, Eilert sees a group capable of compete. His concern must be in simply how lengthy that adjustment interval takes.
Ranked No. 192 within the NCAA’s NET rankings on Sunday, WVU’s solely likelihood to make a run on the NCAA event is to get a win in Cleveland towards Ohio State on Dec. 30, after which put collectively a powerful Massive 12 season that begins in simply 20 days.
“Now we’ve obtained the fellows we would like in there, and everyone might help us win,” Eilert mentioned. “As soon as we get a few of that chemistry rolling, I believe we’re going to be a really harmful group.”