Shirts and signs proclaiming “Press Virginia” have been seen around the WVU Coliseum for the past few years.
That phrase may start to phase out, according to WVU head coach Bob Huggins. The in-your-face defense and full court pressure applied by the Mountaineers have allowed them to compete for the Big 12 title almost every year the team has been in the league.
The WVU basketball team will still be near the top of the conference standings this season, but the defensive schemes may change a bit. Bob Huggins has to utilize his talent and personnel to fit the best use on the court.
With Jevon Carter still at the top on defense, there are countless uses for him to chase the ball across the court. He will still play up-tempo defense and disrupt the opposition before the offense can get set up in the front court.
Beyond Carter and the other senior, Daxter Miles Jr., the big men for the Mountaineers are young. Without having the proper time to fit the Mountaineers’ Press Virginia theme, it will probably be beneficial to not employ the pressure as much as it did last year. Bob Huggins brought to light this potential adaptation to the defense in a story by John Raby of the Associated Press.
"“We might be better served to do something else,” Bob Huggins told the Associated Press. “We’re going to keep doing it and see. I’m more convinced we can’t than we can right now. We kind of play so hard.”"
By getting most of the team up to speed on working the defense efficiently it avoids the risk of having too many players being caught out of position. If players aren’t ready to take part in the Press Virginia defense, they can get burned.
Also, by mixing up the pressure with a more conservative defensive set, it can throw off teams who may be expecting the pressure that WVU has thrown at it for the past few years. West Virginia has forced turnovers at an alarming rate, according to Yahoo Sports. Bob Huggins won’t want that to change and he will still look for his guys to play defense with the same vigor that they have in the past.
Especially with Jevon Carter back to lead the team on both the offensive and defensive side, the Mountaineers will be in good shape no matter what Bob Huggins demands of his team.
Bob Huggins has coached at a high level for nearly 40 years. He has seen how changes need to be implemented and when changes need to be addressed. The Mountaineers could use a change and nobody knows that more than Bob Huggins, the man in charge of reinventing the team’s identity to Press Virginia a few years ago.
National broadcasters will still play up the Press Virginia moniker, but only Bob Huggins knows that his team will be West Virginia. And, Bob Huggins wants that West Virginia team to be national champions in 2018.
By adjusting the defense to fit the best needs of his team, Bob Huggins will put WVU in the best position to reach a championship level.