By Bill Nestor
This past weekend provided some pretty impressive wins on the hardwood. A win is indeed a win, but not every one of them carries quite the same weight.
Saturday afternoon in Morgantown, the Mountaineers knocked off Missouri-Kansas City. Sure the opponent wasn’t a top tier team and the margin of victory (45 points) left a less than dramatic ending, none the less, it was a huge win. It was career win 800 for WVU Head Coach Bob Huggins.
Huggins is the pride of the Mountain State and for his fans this is a terrific milestone. For Huggins himself it is just another win and he is more concerned about fine tuning this team than keeping a running tally of his wins and for that reason, he is so beloved by the state. He shares the same work ethic that many West Virginians possess. Pack a lunch pail, put on the hard hat of hoops, roll up the sleeves and get to work. It’s just that simple.
This win tied him with Rollie Massimino, the former Villanova coach, for ninth place on the all time list. Huggins will dribble past him and score over Eddie Sutton (806 wins) this season to slide into the eighth spot. Unless the Mounties have an unbelievable postseason push, he will more than likely have to wait until next season to climb the ladder to seventh. Huggins would need a few additional campaigns after that to penetrate the top five.
The question is why not? He has found the fountain of coaching youth. His last few squads have been more to his liking both on and off of the court. The past two seasons have brought wins and players with hunger and passion, not to mention more of an open willingness to listen to their coach. These are the types of players that Huggins lives for, the ones that will do whatever the man wants them to do. Huggins has managed to get the most out of these players and it has fueled the fire of his love and passion for the game.
Its fun to speculate the future for sports fans and with every basketball season comes an opportunity to watch the doctor at work. In case you are first a casual fan and don’t realize it, there is basketball greatness taking place in Morgantown. I suggest that you take in a game or two while you can still catch a glimpse of Huggins roaming the sidelines. It doesn’t matter who the opponent is.
I spent most of my weekend at the Robert C. Byrd gymnasium where the Big 10 Cardinal Conference Classic boys games were played. This event was a two day affair that pitted teams from both conferences in a north versus south type of lock up. The teams were seeded in an effort to bring the most competitive match ups possible.
On Friday evening the Big 10 took a pair of wins as Grafton and Lincoln earned wins over Wayne and Scott respectively. Herbert Hoover defeated Liberty to leave it 2-1 going into Saturday.
There were seven games on tap and it provided basketball junkies an opportunity to catch a glimpse of some special players that they might not have a chance to see otherwise. Nitro, Mingo Central and Poca claimed wins over Lewis County, Bridgeport, and North Marion to tighten up the competition. However, Philip Barbour (over Winfield), Robert C. Byrd (over Logan), East Fairmont (over Sissionville) and Fairmont Senior (over Chapmanville) gave the overall advantage to the Big 10 Conference.
The proceeds from the event went to great causes – the Jimmy V and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes!
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!