Morgantown, West Virginia – While Bob Huggins is one of the most accomplished coaches ever in the game of college basketball, his tough, old-school coaching style is certainly not for everyone. In fact, the type of player that will thrive and succeed under Huggins is growing more and more rare.
Former West Virginia forward Jalen Bridges recently spoke in-depth about the issues that he had with the Mountaineers basketball program and several enlightening opinions and thoughts were mentioned.
Player development at West Virginia is bad.
John Flowers and Kevin Jones, two former players for the Mountaineers, said that player development at West Virginia is bad. Bridges agreed, saying that he felt like he regressed as a player during his time at West Virginia.
Rather than hiring a new, young assistant coach, Huggins refuses to make changes and sticks with his aging staff that lacks innovation and fresh thinking.
While West Virginia has produced a few NBA players – Jevon Carter, Miles McBride, Kevin Jones, Devin Ebanks, Joe Alexander and Jaysean Paige – the overall lack of success of Mountaineers at the next level is certainly an issue.
Huggins’ offense is old and antiquated.
Bob Huggins’ offense hasn’t changed since he’s been at West Virginia and it has never been a particularly effective offensive strategy. Huggins has relied on rebounding, toughness and defense to win games.
When his teams are not particularly good at those things – like last year’s team – the Mountaineers will struggle. His stubbornness on the offensive side of the ball costs West Virginia wins. Rather than trying something different, Huggins continues to run the same boring, tired, ineffective offense.
Huggins didn’t show up to his scheduled meetings with Bridges.
Bridges mentioned several times that he scheduled meetings with Bob Huggins and the meetings never happened. He said that he was there, but Huggins blew them off. If Huggins is unwilling to meet with perhaps his most talented, important returning player, what else does he blow off?
Bridges said that he felt like Huggins didn’t care at that point and that was a big part in why he left the team.
Huggins is not motivating his players.
Huggins’ tough, hard-nosed coaching has certainly worked in the past, but it rubs today’s player the wrong way, particularly when the team is losing. In fact, John Flowers, who played for the Mountaineers from 2007-2011, revealed that he almost transferred from West Virginia during his career.
Bridges said the following during his recent interview: “We had team meetings and we broke it down for the coaches. We told them that we understood that they break players down and build them back up, but it felt like they forgot to ever build us back up.
They spent a lot of time drilling us. And to me, if they were cussing us and telling us we’re this and we’re that and it’s not working, why would they continue to do that? Why wouldn’t you switch it up and try a different approach, and maybe see if that would work?”
Bridges continued, “I would rather be taught than just be yelled at. I’m fine with yelling if there’s teaching too. Not that there wasn’t any teaching, but they’d rather yell at you and put you on the treadmill than show you what to do and how to fix it. It’s like a punishment over actually getting better.”
Bridges, of course, is right. If Huggins’ approach was not working, why not try something different? Huggins is notoriously stubborn and unfortunately, it appears that he’s unwilling or incapable of changing.