MORGANTOWN — There have been no followers, no public tackle announcer and no bands enjoying battle songs.
Definitely what Josh Eilert skilled final weekend, because the WVU males’s basketball workforce went up in opposition to Vanderbilt in a closed-door scrimmage, wasn’t precisely what he’ll really feel when the Mountaineers host Kansas in January.
But it was nonetheless his debut of kinds, his first time standing and directing the Mountaineers on the sidelines moderately than sitting and watching.
He’s performed loads of that, precisely 16 years’ value of it at WVU, as Eilert labored his means up the ranks from video coordinator to assistant coach behind Bob Huggins.
That every one modified this summer time, as Huggins resigned following a DUI arrest in Pittsburgh and Eilert was finally named the interim head coach for the 2023-24 season.
Which takes us again to that scrimmage. For the primary time, it was Eilert calling the pictures moderately than giving mere recommendations.
“It actually felt second nature,” Eilert stated. “You play it out in your head, and it’s going to be awkward nonetheless you play it. It felt good standing moderately than sitting.
“It looks like I see much more on what’s occurring now since I don’t have an enormous previous coach in entrance of me and I’m peeking round attempting to determine what simply occurred.”
A greater alternative at teaching in a game-type environment comes at 7 p.m. Friday, because the Mountaineers will host George Mason in a charity exhibition. All proceeds will go to WVU Medication Youngsters’s.
“I’m enthusiastic about one other alternative to take action,” Eilert stated.
As for what precisely Eilert is working with within the Mountaineers, properly it seems like he practically bought a season’s value of expertise in a single scrimmage.
“We realized loads about our workforce,” Eilert stated of the Vanderbilt scrimmage. “There have been 23 lead adjustments, and it went into additional time. We had been down two and had a shot to win it.
“I wasn’t actual excited how we executed. I didn’t name a timeout when there was about 12 seconds left, I allow them to play by means of it. We pressured a 3, once we most likely ought to have gone downhill and tried to get it to the rim to tie it in additional time.”
As for what this workforce will seem like, WVU guard Seth Wilson merely gave a, “Persons are simply going to have to return out and see.”
There will likely be variations, after all, between Huggins’ fashion and Eilert’s.
That begins on the offensive facet of the ground, the place Eilert’s strategy is to create extra spacing, extra pick-and-rolls with newcomers Kerr Kriisa and Jesse Edwards and sure extra shooters camped out within the corners.
“Taking part in the brand new system, I really feel prefer it’s going to work,” stated Wilson, who averaged 4.2 factors per recreation as a sophomore final season. “We’re actually good in it. There are issues we are able to enhance on it, like with the spacing. There’s a way of freedom, a way of being able to make reads. It’s positively going to be good.”
There are give and takes, although, which means WVU might not find yourself as sturdy within the rebounding and defensive classes as they historically did beneath Huggins.
“What did grow to be a problem is our defensive rebounding,” Eilert stated. “We’ve drilled that and drilled that. Hopefully it bought by means of to them that we’ve bought to verify our man.”
Six scholarship gamers will play in entrance of a house WVU crowd for the primary time, however none of them will likely be RaeQuan Battle.
The 6-foot-5 guard had his waiver for speedy eligibility denied by the NCAA earlier this week. WVU is presently interesting that call, however Battle won’t be able to play till he will get clearance.
Nonetheless, anticipation stays excessive for newcomers reminiscent of Kriisa and Edwards.
Kriisa led the Pac-12 in assists final season at Arizona, whereas Edwards averaged a double-double final season at Syracuse.
“It’s positively completely different,” enjoying with Kriisa, Wilson stated. “You need to preserve your head on a swivel, since you don’t know the place he’s going to throw the ball. He may throw it behind his head or throw it behind his again. You by no means know what’s going to occur.”
WVU vs. GEORGE MASON
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday
WHERE: WVU Coliseum
TV: ESPN+ (On-line subscription wanted)
RADIO: 100.9 JACK-FM