MORGANTOWN — It will appear Josh Eilert and the WVU males’s basketball program aren’t simply caught in a storm nowadays — it could be extra like a monsoon.
As one adverse incident has slammed into one other, it’s not misplaced on Eilert that the deck has been stacked in opposition to him.
For some, it will look like waving a white flag towards the basketball gods and begging for mercy would appear like a good suggestion.
Eilert doesn’t fairly see it that manner.
“We’ve had challenges,” he begins in stating the apparent. “However, we’re right here. We’re excited. We is likely to be somewhat bit shorthanded, however we’ve received guys I can rely on and guys I can go to bat with.”
When many years have handed and this specific season is regarded again on, it could be determined that few different males’s faculty basketball groups within the nation needed to face the quantity of adversity this WVU workforce has endured.
It misplaced a Corridor-of-Fame coach in Bob Huggins to a controversial resignation after a nationwide embarrassment. It misplaced two, possibly three potential starters to the switch portal following Huggins’ resignation.
Senior guard Jose Perez was then dismissed after violating workforce guidelines.
The NCAA declared guard RaeQuan Battle ineligible this season, a choice that’s at present being appealed.
Senior ahead Akok Akok collapsed and was rushed to the hospital final week throughout an exhibition sport.
Eilert stated Thursday Akok’s standing for the season remains to be to be decided, however he positively gained’t play Monday, when the Mountaineers host Missouri State to open the season.
Anticipated place to begin guard Kerr Kriisa additionally gained’t be on the ground. The Arizona switch is serving a nine-game suspension for accepting improper advantages. That suspension was introduced Tuesday.
“We type of really feel like we’ve got our backs in opposition to a wall. We’re going to battle and we’re going to compete,” Eilert continued. “That’s the one manner we have a look at issues. I instructed our workforce the opposite day, don’t take the sufferer mentality. We’re not victims. We now have a chance in entrance of us and we’re going to take full benefit of our alternative.”
On the very least, it could possibly’t be stated the Mountaineers aren’t newsworthy.
Which is the place the whole lot stands heading into the season opener, a welcomed second for a program probably craving to get an escape from the drama and simply play some significant basketball.
“There’s been a number of instances that it’s been robust, however you simply need to maintain pushing via,” stated Kobe Johnson, who will fill in at level guard for Kriisa throughout his absence. “It’s onerous, however I’m simply making an attempt to remain centered.”
As for Akok’s medical state of affairs, “Our medical employees continues to observe him every day they usually’ve completed some extra testing,” Eilert stated. “It’s actually one thing we work with him on daily basis to determine what the following step is.”
Eilert additionally stated he was by no means given a “clear image” of what brought about Akok’s collapse to the ground.
“I feel (the docs) are nonetheless studying a few of these exams,” Eilert stated. “I’ll depart that as much as them to reply these questions.”
As for Kriisa, Eilert doubled down that the purpose guard accepted the improper advantages earlier than he enrolled at WVU this summer time.
“It didn’t occur on our watch,” he stated.
The College of Arizona got here out with an announcement on Wednesday saying its athletics division or coaches had “no involvement.”
The complete assertion: “Upon studying of a possible NCAA subject with a former males’s basketball student-athlete after they left the College of Arizona, the athletics division labored collaboratively and transparently with the NCAA and West Virginia College of their evaluate of the matter. The evaluate confirmed there was no involvement from any Arizona Athletics employees members or coaches.
“As a part of their analysis, the NCAA decided that the College of Arizona’s compliance programs and schooling met or exceeded their requirements and nationwide finest practices. The College of Arizona obtained no penalties or corrective actions on account of the NCAA’s analysis.”
WVU has stated Kriisa has taken full duty for accepting the advantages. Eilert cited scholar privateness points in not discussing what the unlawful advantages really have been.
“I’m not frightened about what Arizona does or says,” Eilert stated. “I do know there’s scholar privateness legal guidelines by way of Kerr’s state of affairs, so I gained’t get into it. My message is we’re not a sufferer. We take duty for no matter that’s that we have to take duty for, and we transfer ahead.
“Kerr goes to assist us in follow on daily basis. It’s not like he can’t follow with us or journey with us or be across the workforce. We’re not hanging our head.”
Because the Mountaineers’ state of affairs at present stands, they’ll open the season with eight scholarship gamers, one walk-on, a largely new teaching employees and their fingers tightly crossed.
Fingers crossed, as if to say, “Please don’t let anything dangerous occur.”
“Within the coaches assembly this morning, I stated that is as little as it will get, I feel, at this level,” Eilert stated. “We nonetheless received a smile on our face. We’re nonetheless coming to work. Actually, there are challenges, however inside challenges and adversity come loads of alternatives to study and develop.
“Yeah, it seems like the whole lot goes in opposition to us proper now, however possibly the tide goes to start out turning. Possibly issues are going to start out going our manner. That’s the way in which we’re going to need to function.”