Monday, May 29, 2023

West Virginia is the Current Favorite to Land Olivier Nkamhoua

Olivier Nkamhoua, a transfer power forward from Tennessee, made an official visit to Morgantown, West Virginia on Saturday and is now set to make other visits before finally deciding where he will continue his collegiate career.   MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- One of the top remaining transfers in the transfer portal, Olivier Nkamhoua, was in town this weekend, visiting with West Virginia coaches and staff. Nkamhoua, a 6'9 power forward from Finland, averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game for Tennessee this past season, toured the Mountaineers practice facility and met with Bob Huggins and his coaching staff. The West Virginia coaches took Nkamhoua to The Lakehouse Restaurant, an American-Italian restaurant on Cheat Lake in Morgantown, for lunch. After lunch, Nkahmhoua and Huggins were seen hugging and laughing in the parking lot, which is obviously a very good sign for West Virginia. Huggins was joined by assistant coach Alex Ruoff and Director of Player Personnel/Recruiting Jay Kuntz. In other words, West Virginia put on the full-court press to land Nkamhoua, knowing he very well could be the missing piece that could eventually lead the Mountaineers to a Big 12 and national championship. Nkamhoua is not only a talented, experienced offensive player, he would also instantly be the team's best defender should he decide to join. Nkamhoua is now visiting Kansas State and will visit Michigan next weekend. Michigan has long been considered the favorite land him, but Bob Huggins and his staff have proven to be very successful at gaining commitments from players once they get them on campus. West Virginia has found ways to compensate foreign-born players with NIL deals using methods that other schools have not yet been able to do. The Mountaineers landed Kerr Kriisa, who was born in Estonia, and Jesse Edwards, who was born in The Netherlands, reportedly paying both players more than their previous schools (Arizona and Syracuse, respectively) could pay them and perhaps they can work their same magic with the Finland-born Nkamhoua. According to On3, West Virginia currently has a 38.1% chance of landing him, while Michigan's chances have dropped to 33.3%.

The Missing Piece of the Championship Puzzle

If the West Virginia Mountaineers can add Olivier Nkamhoua, they would arguably have the most talented team in the Big 12 and perhaps in the nation.  MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- According to multiple reports, the West Virginia Mountaineers are hosting Tennessee transfer Olivier Nkamhoua on an official visit this weekend, May 27-28. The West Virginia coaching staff has had tremendous success getting commitments from players once they are on campus so this visit is an tremendous sign for the program. Nkamhoua, a 6'9 power forward from Finland, averaged 10.8 points and 5.0 rebounds in 25.3 minutes per game for the Vols this season, shooting 51.3 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from the 3-point line, where he went 18-54. Nkamhoua took part in the NBA’s G League Elite camp last week in Chicago, scoring 12 points on 3-6 shooting from the floor and 4-6 from the free throw line in his first game, adding two rebounds, two assists and a pair of turnovers. In his second game, he had five points on 2-for-5 shooting, including 1-for-2 from the 3-point line. Nkamhoua's top priority is to play in the NBA and wants to make that happen as quickly as possible. However, returning for one more season in college could be his best bet to one day playing professionally. In addition, West Virginia has found ways to compensate foreign-born players with NIL deals using methods that other schools have not yet been able to do. The Mountaineers landed Kerr Kriisa, who was born in Estonia, and Jesse Edwards, who was born in The Netherlands, reportedly paying both players more than their previous schools (Arizona and Syracuse, respectively) could pay them. If West Virginia can manage to secure a commitment from Nkamhoua, they would add to an already impressive, talented roster heading into the 2023-2024 season. One issue that the West Virginia coaching staff will have to overcome is convincing Nkamhoua to take a role on a potential championship team rather than being the star player. The starting lineup is already loaded and it's very possible that Nkamhoua would have to come off the bench if he joins the team.

Joe Mazzulla in Hot Water

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Overmatched. Outclassed. Unprepared. These are just a few words Boston Celtics' fans have used recently to describe head coach Joe Mazzulla. Mazzulla, who played point guard for the West Virginia Mountaineers from 2006-2010, has led the Celtics to the NBA Eastern Conference Finals in his first season, but that might not be enough for him to keep his job. Following the Celtics' 128-102 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals, Mazzulla had the following to say about his team's performance: "I just didn't have them ready to play. I have to get them in a better place ready to play, and that's on me." In addition, Mazzulla admitted that he has lost his team's locker room: "Yeah, it's why I need to be better to figure out what this team needs." Down 3-0 in the series, Boston is at risk of being swept and Celtics' fans are certainly not thrilled with Mazzulla's inexperienced coaching. Social media lit up last night with messages from Boston fans to fire Mazzulla immediately. One fan said, "You don't give the keys to a championship team to someone with absolutely no coaching experience." Although it seemed unthinkable a month ago, the NBA is a cutthroat business and Joe Mazzulla could realistically be fired if the Celtics don't the series around quickly. If that's the case, West Virginia University should do everything in its power to make him the next head coach of the Mountaineers when Bob Huggins retires. While Mazzulla has expressed interest in remaining in the NBA, it's unclear whether another team around the league would be willing to give him a shot again. With that said, Bob Huggins is likely in his last season and Mazzulla would be the absolute perfect replacement to take over for his former coach at his alma mater.

Joe Mazzulla Watches This Movie 4 Times Every Week

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Former West Virginia point guard Joe Mazzulla has led his Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference in his first season as the head coach of the team. Mazzulla, 34, has developed a very strange ritual since arriving in Boston. He told NBC Sports analyst Brian Scalabrine that he watches The Town four times per week. The Town is a 2010 film starring Ben Affleck about a band of ruthless bank robbers that takes place in Boston. He says it is just a “Boston mindset” to watch that movie. According to Celtics guard Malcolm Brogdon, the line “Whose car we gonna take?” has become a rallying cry for the Celtics during the postseason. "It’s basically just ride or die for your guys, the guys you’re on the court with, the guys you’re competing with. It’s having the mentality it doesn’t matter what we’re going to get into, we’re going to do it together.” The Town has a runtime of two hours and four minutes, which means that he watches over 8 hours of this movie a week!

Popular Podcast Host Fired for Airing Bob Huggins’ Comments

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Although Bob Huggins kept his job, popular podcast host Josh Neighbors was fired for airing the uncensored audio of Bob Huggins from the Cincinnati radio show. Neighbors was the host of the "Locked On Big 12" podcast and was contacted by management after airing the comments and was told that he would be terminated. "I made the conscious decision to play Bob Huggins’ comments in their entirety and without censoring the slurs that he used, Neighbors later explained. "I did that because I thought it was important to play and get the full context of what he had said. I followed that up by saying I thought what he said was abhorrent." Neighbors went on to say, "There is a zero tolerance policy on hate speech, whether you are decrying it or using it. That is their prerogative because Locked On podcast goes to various platforms. I thought I was using my platform to combat the hate speech, to say it’s unacceptable … It did not matter to the people at Locked On." Hear Neighbors' full comments following his termination below:

Joe Mazzulla Shockingly on the Hot Seat

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Despite leading the Boston Celtics to a 57-25 record and a 2nd place finish in the Eastern Conference, former West Virginia point guard and current head coach of the Celtics, Joe Mazzulla, could shockingly be on the hot seat. The Celtics are currently down 3 games to 2 games to the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern conference semifinals and according to reports, Mazzulla could be fired if the Celtics lose the series, despite receiving a contract extension during the season. Jason Williams told Max Kellerman on KJM on ESPN that he believes Mazzulla has lost his players in the locker room and many people believe he is in over his head. In addition, Ben Maller from Fox Sports Radio reports that Mazzulla is "on thin ice" and his job could be in jeopardy if the Celtics can't beat the 76ers in tonight's Game 6 matchup, saying, "Mazzulla has no resume. The Celtics can't waste these years with the young talent they have. He's on thin ice." Although it seemed unthinkable a month ago, the NBA is a cutthroat business and Joe Mazzulla could realistically be fired if the Celtics don't make it to the NBA Championship. If that's the case, West Virginia University should do everything in its power to make him the next head coach of the Mountaineers when Bob Huggins retires.

Huggins Dubbed the “Most Powerful Person in West Virginia”

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- While most people in the state of West Virginia uniformly agree that Bob Huggins should remain the head coach of the Mountaineers, virtually every national media member believes that his punishment wasn't nearly harsh enough. Sports Illustrated's Pat Forde believes that Huggins received nothing more than a slap on the wrist for his insensitive remarks that he made on a Cincinnati radio station. "The bottom line at West Virginia is this", Forde said. "Bob Huggins matters more than the community he denigrated." Forde went on to say that Bob Huggins is officially the "most powerful person in the state of West Virginia", saying, "WVU made its pecking order clear. Nobody else at the university could have gotten away with that casual public spewing of hate speech and kept their job with relatively minor repercussions. Nor could any politician, coal baron or other leader in the state." Forde added that Huggins' 3-game suspension was certainly not enough and it's hard to argue considering the Mountaineers play Missouri State, Monmouth and Jacksonville State to start the season. West Virginia has a real opportunity to be a national contender next season and the team's success was clearly the priority. Bob Huggins will remain the most beloved figure in West Virginia regardless of what happens in the future. He's above criticism in the state. Although that's the case in West Virginia, it's certainly not around the country. Huggins' reputation has been damaged and he has a long way to go in repairing his image moving forward.

Bob Huggins Releases Statement on His Punishment

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Moments ago, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins released a statement after receiving a 3 game suspension and a $1 million deduction in his yearly salary. Huggins had the following to say about his punishment for insensitive remarks: "Over the past 48 hours, I have reflected on the awful words that I shared on a radio program earlier this week. I deeply regret my actions, the hurt they unfairly caused others and the negative attention my words have brought to West Virginia University. I also regret the embarrassment and disappointment it has caused our Athletics family, members of our campus community and the state of West Virginia. I am sorry for the hurt and distress I have caused our students and our student-athletes. I represent more than just our University and our basketball program, and it pains me to know that I have let so many people down. I have no excuse for the language I used, and I take full responsibility. I will abide with the actions outlined by the University and Athletics leadership to learn from this incident. I have had several conversations with colleagues and friends that I deeply respect and admire over the last 24 hours, and I am keenly aware of the pain that I have caused. I meant what I wrote on Monday - I will do better. I am looking forward to working with WVU’s LGBTQ+ Center and other state organizations to learn more about the issues facing the community. As a leader, I am eager to use my platform to take what I learn and share it with a broader audience. I also regret my comments regarding Xavier University. I am hopeful that my personal donation to the university to support its Center for Faith and Justice and its Center for Diversity and Inclusion will further the work it does and the impact it has on its students. West Virginia and West Virginia University are my home. I love this University and know first-hand that the education and experiences students receive here make a difference. I am truly sorry for the damage I have done. And I am grateful for the chance to move forward in a way that positively represents this University and our state."

Jimmy Bell Commits to New School

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Former West Virginia starting center Jimmy Bell entered the transfer portal a few weeks ago and received major interest from several teams. Bell, a 6’10 center from Saginaw, Michigan, averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Mountaineers last season. Moments ago, Bell committed to play at Mississippi State, according to his Instagram account. Bell also received interest from several schools, including Missouri, Old Dominion, Saint Louis, BYU, UCF, Temple, Georgia Southern, Austin Peay, UNC Wilmington, New Mexico State, Seton Hall, Jackson State and DePaul.

Punishment Announced for Bob Huggins

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins has been suspended following his insensitive, homophobic remarks on a Cincinnati radio station. Huggins has been suspended for 3 games, will have his salary reduced by $1 million and will have to attend sensitivity training. The Mountaineers play three games at home to start the season against Missouri State, Monmouth and Jacksonville State before playing in the Fort Myers Tip-Off Tournament on November 20th.  

Bob Huggins is Expected to Remain Head Coach of the Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- It has been a difficult 24 hours for West Virginians, but it appears that Bob Huggins will survive the calls for him to resign and will remain the head coach of the Mountaineers. Huggins, 69, made a homophobic slur on a Cincinnati radio station yesterday and several national media members and local Pride groups called for him to resign. However, Huggins apologized for his actions and is willing to accept the punishments that are coming to him. According to sources, Huggins will be forced to sit out of an unspecified amount of games, pay fines and attend sensitivity training classes. In addition, Huggins will likely donate money to LGTBQ+ causes and charities. In his released statement following his insensitive remarks, Huggins said that he would "do better" and "deeply apologized" to the individuals that he hurt with his words. Huggins also said that he would accept any consequences that he would face. West Virginia University decided that this was the appropriate punishment for his actions and wants to put this whole mess in the past, but also must take the situation seriously. Expect an official announcement from the university in the coming days.

West Virginia Has a Special and Unique Loyalty to Bob Huggins

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- It has been a very ugly last few days in Morgantown and for West Virginia fans around the country and during a very sad, difficult time, it's hard to make lemonade out of lemons, but I will try. Bob Huggins said something inexcusable in 2023. Whether you hate "cancel culture" or not, he is the most recognizable person in the state of West Virginia and he has the ultimate responsibility of choosing his words carefully. You simply cannot excuse what he said. It's inexcusable. With that said, most people in the state of West Virginia still very much support Huggins and in fact, he is somehow even more adored following his insensitive, careless comments. Someone recently joked on social media that Bob Huggins could shoot a person in the middle of High Street in downtown Morgantown in broad daylight and he would still be supported by West Virginians. He is that beloved in the Mountain State. Bob Huggins is West Virginia. He is crude, he tells it like it is, he is honest to a fault, he occasionally says or does something really, really stupid, but ultimately he has a good heart and he cares. He's genuine. He's real. He's one of us. He messed up in a major way and he's asked for forgiveness and the people of West Virginia have responded with love and compassion and grace and understanding. This incident will almost certainly tarnish Huggins' national reputation forever. He can go on to win a national championship, cure cancer and end poverty, and he will unfortunately still be remembered by many as the basketball coach who said a homophobic slur on a radio program. For all the good that he's done - and he's done a substantial amount of good during his long and illustrious career - some will choose to remember only the shortcomings and wrongdoings. But not in the state of West Virginia. Bob Huggins is revered and cherished unlike anyone in this state and no matter what he does or says for the rest of his life, he can do no wrong in the eyes of West Virginians. West Virginia is tough, it's not always politically correct and, perhaps most importantly, it's loyal.

Erik Stevenson Hints at TBT Appearance

(Photo by WVU Athletics) Former WVU guard Erik Stevenson took to Twitter earlier this evening to imply something that will have a lot of fans excited. With the TBT Basketball Tournament set to return this summer, Stevenson reached out to John Flowers in hopes of possibly making the roster.   Stevenson, who was a pivotal piece to WVU’s NCAA Tournament run in 2023, also included former Mountaineer Kedrian Johnson to his wish. Whether or not both players are included on the “Best Virginia” team remains to be seen.

BREAKING: New Report Sources Highlighting Bob Huggins’ Past Behavior

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Bob Huggins' past may finally be catching up to him. Huggins, who made a homophobic remark yesterday on a Cincinnati radio program, promptly apologized and said that he would do better in the future. However, according to longtime Cincinnati beat writer Jason Williams of the Cincinnati Enquirer, this is far from the first time that Bob Huggins has made inappropriate comments. In fact, according to Williams, this is classic Bob Huggins. "I watched him verbally dismantle his players in practice," Williams said. "I heard him call players a vile word that rhymes with “hunt.” I knew of him to use the same f-word that he used on WLW. Huggins referred to a fellow beat reporter’s laptop carrying case as a “(bleep) bag.” No idea why. He thought it was funny. No one else did." Williams went on to say that he saw a very gentle and loving side of Huggins, and gave him a ton of credit for all that he's done at West Virginia, including the millions and millions of dollars that he's raised for cancer research. However, according to Williams, Huggins was wrong for the way he behaved in the past at Cincinnati and he was wrong for what he said yesterday.

Dan Dakich Slams the State of West Virginia

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Former West Virginia head coach Dan Dakich, who was the coach of the Mountaineers for 8 days before leaving the school, went on a tirade this morning on his show, "The Dan Dakich Show", about Bob Huggins and the state of West Virginia. Dakich, who has made his negative feelings about Huggins and the West Virginia basketball program known for years, said this morning that Bob Huggins is "toe jam" and said that he can "rot in hell." Dakich went on to say that Huggins is the "biggest dirtbag in the history of college athletics." Dakich then turned his attention to the state of West Virginia. Dakich said the following about the Mountain State: "I was only there for 8 days and saw what a terrible place it is. West Virginia is the dumbest, most backwards place on Earth."