Wednesday, I did a general review of the exhibition against Glenville State and my opinion on the team as a whole. Today, I’m going to go through the roster and give my impressions so far and outlook for the season for each individual player:
Starting Lineup (from Glenville St Game):
G Jabarie Hinds: 1-7 FG, 2 Points, 1 Assist, 4 Turnovers in 15 minutes. I really expect Hinds to be solid this year and be one of our better shooters, but he just didn’t have a good game against Glennville. He couldn’t shoot and had trouble keeping control of the ball. As a result, his playing time was limited. I think he’ll bounce back though and be a nice complement to Staten. It’ll be a big plus to have two guards in the starting lineup that are proficient at handling the ball, and Hinds really has the potential to be our shutdown defender. He looked really good in the Gold and Blue Debut, and Huggins even said he was surprised by how poorly Hinds shot the ball against Glenville, because he’s been lights out in practices. He’ll be a key player for the Mountaineers this year.
G Juwan Staten: 6-8 FG, 4-4 FT, 16 Points, 3 Steals, 6 Assists, 0 Turnovers in 25 minutes. Staten looked good against Glenville. He has good ball control and really nice moves that let him blow by defenders and drive to the basket. He also makes some good passes and should record a lot of assists. He’s a solid point guard that you can depend on to make smart plays on offense with an ability to create opportunities when nothing is open. Probably the best we’ve had since Nichols. His defense is average right now, but I’d look for that to improve over the course of the year. We’re in good hands with Staten at point.
F Keaton Miles: 2-5 FG, 1-2 3PT, 5 Points, 4 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 3 Steals in 19 minutes. Miles started most of last year, but I was surprised to see him in the starting line up this year. He had a pretty solid game though. Nothing flashy, but he played good defense and didn’t hurt the team on offense. He looked like he understood what he was supposed to do a lot better than he did last year. I think he’ll be a solid player for us this year but I think he’s one that could see his minutes go down as others emerge.
F Deniz Kilicli: 8-10 FG, 3-5 FT, 19 points, 3 Rebounds, 2 Blocks in 17 minutes. Kilicli was solid inside on offense. He really couldn’t miss no matter what type of shot, be it a jump shot, hook, or layup. They really should have gotten the ball to him more. With the addition of Aaric Murray, Kilicli moved to forward and I think this will help him play better defensively this year as he won’t be up against the opposing center all the time. This should give us a matchup advantage. Kilicli looks a little leaner and stronger this year. He is noticeably quicker getting up and down the court. He is, however, still inconsistent on defense. The other big area he needs to improve on is rebounds. He only had 3 against Glenville. That’s not going to cut it, so look for Huggins to get the Turk to play harder on the boards. Kilicli certainly has the potential to be our go to player this year. Hopefully he lives up to the potential we all see in him.
C Aaric Murray: 5-7 FG, 3-3 FT, 13 Points, 9 Rebounds, 2 Blocks, 1 Steal in 15 minutes. I thought Murray had a good game overall. His long arms make him a rebounding machine, and he showed good ability to tip in rebounds for baskets. He also moves pretty well for a quick guy. Murray and Kilicli complement each other pretty well and should be as good of a combination inside as we’ve had in a long time.
G Gary Browne: 0-4 FG, 4-5 FT, 4 Points, 3 Turnovers, 19 minutes. Browne played a lot of minutes last year and looks to as well this year. He didn’t have a great game against Glenville, finishing up without any field goals, steals, or assists. He will be a solid guy off the bench for us though. He can eat up minutes with solid play and give you the occasional burst on both offense and defense, as we saw last year. Hopefully his shooting behind the arc will improve, as we could definitely use someone who can drain 3’s. Browne is one of a handful of players who could end up being our 6th man this year.
G Matt Humphrey: 2-8 FG, 4 Points, 2 Assists, 1 Block, 1 Steal. Humphrey is a senior transfer. He impressed in the Gold and Blue Debut but not so much against Glenville. I believe he is known for his ability to shoot 3’s, but he wasn’t hitting this night and didn’t look so good. I think he’ll be an on and off player for us, but he certainly has the ability to provide a spark to the team. In both the Gold and Blue Debut and the exhibition against Glenville State, Humphrey made a really nice steal that led to a fast break dunk going the other way. When we need a quick turnover and basket to turn the momentum in a game, Humphrey looks like the goto player. I would imagine that Humphrey will also see significant playing time this season.
G Eron Harris: 0 PT, 2 Assists, 2 Steals in 12 minutes. Harris puts forth a lot of effort and has a lot of potential. I doubt he sees much playing time early but will probably earn some as the season goes on. His reputation is one of a good ball handler, perimeter shooter, and defender, all of which are skills we need.
G Terry Henderson: 1-3 FG, 1-2 FT, 3 Points in 12 minutes. Henderson made a bucket in the 12 minutes he played. Like Harris, he will probably start off will little playing time and have to earn it throughout the year. Henderson seems to have a lot of upside though- he was a great shooter in high school and could wind up being our goto guy when we need a three.
G Aaric Dickerson: Redshirted last year and only played one minute against Glenville. I don’t expect to see much of him this year.
G Richard Romeo: Walk-on from White Sulphur Springs. It doesn’t seem like he will have an impact this year, but you never know.
F Aaron Brown: 1-2 FG, 2 Points in 4 minutes. Brown played a lot last year but didn’t see much time in the exhibition. I’m not sure if he is nursing and injury or if he’s just in Huggin’s dog house right now. I would expect to see him get minutes this year though. He appeared in every game last year and started the NCAA game against Gonzaga. He was one of the more consistent three point shooters, shooting 39.1% from behind the arc. He should improve on last year’s performance and be a solid player off the bunch.
F Vladimir Gerun: 5-9 FG, 2-2 FT, 12 Points in 12 minutes. Gerun is suspended for the first 6 games because the NCAA is the most ridiculous governing body in sports, but he looks like he could be a huge part of the team this year. He led the Ukraine in scoring, rebounding, and blocking last year and brings that skill to the Mountaineers. Hopefully he has a better time adjusting to US basketball than Kilicli. I suspect he’ll have some trouble on defense while shining on offense. He bring a different dimension to the front lines, I think, and will provide a nice change of pace to Kilicli and Murray.
F Kevin Noreen: 3-4 FG, 2-5 FT, 8 Points, 8 Rebounds, 1 Block, 1 Steal in 18 minutes. Noreen might have been the surprise of the game for me. He was solid on both offense and defense and was one of our best bigs in the game. Hopefully he can stay injury free, because he certainly looks to be a key component of our frontcourt this year. You won’t get anything flashy out of Noreen, just solid play on both sides of the ball.
F Dominique Rutledge: 3-3 FG, 1-1 FT, 7 Points, 4 Rebounds in 14 minutes. Rutledge is a big guy, and we need him to be assertive on the boards. He was a little disappointing against Glenville State, but I think he’ll be a contributor this year. I’ll caveat it by saying he looks like he’ll only be effective in 4-5 minute spurts. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him sub in and out a lot.
So there you have it- my review of our roster. I think this is the most talent and potential we’ve had since the final four season, and Huggins will have the boys far exceeding expectations yet again. Tune in at Midnight Monday Night/Tuesday Morning to see the Mountaineers take on Gonzaga.