WEST VIRGINIA COACH BOB HIGGINS @ MEDIA DAY
October 22, 2013INDIANA SPORTS PAGE
KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
THE MODERATOR: We're now with Coach Bob Huggins. Coach would like to go straight to questions, so questions for Coach.
Q. With the new hand checking rules, do you think they'll improve the game overall?
COACH HUGGINS: I don't know. I think probably if we get a year maybe to see. I think the fallacy is we're not going to have contact. You can't put ten people that big, that strong, that fast in such a confined area. They're going to run into each other. I mean, it just happens, and it's always been a contact sport.
I think what they're trying to do is free up the guy with the ball more. I don't know. Ask me a year from now, and I can eloquently answer your question. Or at least I think it's eloquent.
Q. The story on the sweater? That is a good?looking sweater.
COACH HUGGINS: Really good looking, isn't it? You're jealous. I don't know. I figured I'd be the Max Good of the Big 12. I was in the LMC with Max, and every year he'd come in with an entirely different look. So I just figured I'd do it.
Q. It works.
COACH HUGGINS: It will be something for you to write about.
Q. I think it's more of a photo op. Hey, just talk about Harris and Henderson, how much you guys need to kind of be built around those guys.
COACH HUGGINS: Well, we've gone from, I think, trying to ineffectively throw it inside to we're going to be more of a perimeter team. I think what's kind of?? there are a few fun things left in this business, and I think one of them is to watch people mature. Those guys went from being very shy, skinny little guys to not knowing what to do and kind of being not very assertive to taking a leadership role. We don't have any seniors, and we only have five returning guys, so those five guys kind of have to assume a leadership role for us.
It's kind of fun watching those two guys grow into that role, helping the younger guys with the things that I think they struggled with maybe initially a year ago.
But they're both talented guys. They're both talented guys and they're both really good guys. So we look for them to have big years for us.
Q. I know that throughout last season when people asked you about the transition into the Big 12, you kind of held them off at a distance. In the end you opened up about some things. The travel was difficult, and there were some areas that were difficult. In a way, does it feel like starting over this year? You've got the transition year out of the way, and you're starting from square one?
COACH HUGGINS: Well, I guess, I think people assumed since I've been in the league for a year that I kind of knew what was going on. I was kind of hoping that I did. It was an entirely different league when I was there. We had a north division and a south division, and you played everybody in the north twice and played the south once. So it's an entirely different league and an entirely different atmosphere than it was when I was at K?State.
The travel was harder than what we thought it was going to be. I think the commissioner and everybody in the league have done a great job of trying to make it as painless as you can possibly make flying four hours painless. The whole league is different.
Let's be honest, officiating in this league compared to the officiating in the Big East was night and day. The atmospheres were night and day. You go from a league where you play maybe half of your games in NBA arenas that are downtown, away from campus, and you don't have the student involvement that you have in the Big 12. I think the atmospheres in the Big 12 are far tougher to play in than they are in leagues where you don't play on campus.
So there was, I think, a great deal of adjustment for not just the coaches, but I think the players as well.
And the other thing I think was before in the Big East because we were an hour flight away and four? or five?hour drive and because we had so many alumni up and down the East Coast everywhere we went, we had a tremendous following. In this league, it's really hard and we don't have the alumni base that we have in the East. So there were a lot of differences.
But as we tell our guys all the time, those students can't block a shot to get a rebound, and I'm sure sometimes they don't call a foul. But there are other things they can't do, so, you know, just play.
Q. The NCAA just announced a five?game suspension with Frank Haith with the Miami booster situation. I'm curious, do situations like that make college basketball coaches more cautious about who they allow to be around their programs?
COACH HUGGINS: Oh, I think we all try. You know, it's really a double?edged sword because you want your guys to meet some people that are going to be beneficial to them down the road. Potential employers, people who have contacts, people who can make calls, people who can be references. At the same time, you're supposed to stay away from those very people.
It's a fine line I think we all walk to try to do the right things by the kids, because the right thing really is for those kids to get to know people that are going to help them down the road and in the future. But at the same time, don't get too involved because then you cross over that line.
I think we all do. I think we all walk a fine line. I mean, everybody could sit up here and say we don't do that, and probably knowingly, we don't, but it happens.