YE OLDE NOTEBOOK:
You might have heard that after West Virginia's latest basketball loss, guard Truck Bryant said he was going to call a players-only meeting.Raised some eyebrows. Kind of like if Brooke Hogan held a seminar on the evils of reality TV.But never fear, Mountaineers fans.
"They didn't have one," said WVU coach Bob Huggins. "That's just Truck."Bryant has been part of WVU's ongoing problems. But so too have all of the Mountaineers, save for Kevin Jones."Been trying to figure out how to score," Huggins said.The eyes certainly say that's WVU's problem, but the stats still say otherwise. Heading into the weekend, the Mountaineers were No. 4 of 16 Big East teams in scoring offense - and No. 11 in scoring defense. They were No. 6 in field goal percentage - and No. 14 in field goal percentage defense.There are, however, two glaring deficiencies concerning WVU's offense - 3-point field goal percentage (No. 13, 32.5 percent) and free throw shooting (No. 14, 65.1 percent). While Huggins was on the line, I asked about his team's health. The coach has been ankle-deep in problems there. Deniz Kilicli turned an ankle and missed the Marshall game before returning. He's been nicked all season. Then Kevin Noreen broke his ankle in the Pitt game."There's nothing wrong with Deniz," Huggins said. "Kevin [Noreen] had surgery the day after [the Pitt game]. They told me it went well, but I don't know what that means. They said it's more than likely he's out for the rest of the year." If Huggins is looking for a center, he only has to travel to Raleigh County to find one. The problem is, Levi Cook, the 6-foot-10 player for Liberty High, is only 14 years old.We've profiled Cook here before, but a call was placed to Aaron Pauley, his coach, for an update."He comes and goes," Pauley said. "He's still learning. But he lost a few more pounds. He's under 300 now and able to get up and down the floor a little bit better."Pauley said the freshman is averaging between 17 and 18 points.
Last year, the Read Aloud West Virginia program put together a video of state personalities reading "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss. Among those to participate were Huggins and Marshall's Doc Holliday and Tom Herrion. If you didn't check it out then, you can still do so on the Internet at http://readaloudwestvirginia.org/seussa2.php. Huggins' reading alone is worth the watch.Anyway, the program is shooting another video to "Oh, the Places You'll Go" by Dr. Seuss. Author Homer Hickam and America's Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. have volunteered to read.As has state legend Jerry West.Should again be worth a watch. A fund-raiser, by the way, is being held March 15 at Brickstreet Insurance. There were rumors the Big 12 might release its 2012-13 football schedule - which will include West Virginia - at the end of last week. That did not happen. We'll now see if it will be released early this week - or not until after the Feb. 9 ordered mediation between WVU and the Big East. I must pause here and tip a cap (one that really should exist but doesn't) to West Virginia Tech's basketball team.
The Golden Bear men's team is having a fine year, but won't participate in postseason games. The reason: the school sought a return to NCAA Division II status in the offseason and was ruled ineligible for postseason play by the NAIA. Games also don't count in its conference (the Mid-South) standings. Basically, the NAIA and Mid-South are calling Tech's season a mirage.The players, though, know it is not a mirage. Senior Josh Proctor told the Gazette's Rick Ryan the team remains motivated by setting its "own goals" and has kept an unofficial count on games against Mid-South opponents. A celebration is forthcoming if the count indicates they'd have won a league title if eligible."Our [athletic director Frank Pergolizzi] said he'd get us some rings if we win the conference," Proctor said.Good for Pergolizzi. Good for the Golden Bears. And raspberries to those who ruled the team ineligible and, especially, the yahoos who decided it best to pull Tech out of the West Virginia Conference way back when. I shall never understand that decision. Taking the Giants in the Super Bowl today. And thanking the heavens I don't have to hear or see any more hype about the game on ESPN for a year. Had the network combined the work of Buddy Rich, Travis Barker, Keith Moon, Dave Grohl and Neil Peart, they couldn't have beaten the drum more for the event. And finally . . .A bow of the head for the passing of longtime UPI state sports editor Dan Hose.Hose was a true gentleman who remained such even within these brash, look-at-me times. He not only covered state sports, but also helped with the staging of them. After retiring, for instance, he would shepherd players and coaches to postgame press conferences at the state basketball tournaments and introduce them to the media.He was a true southern gentleman in southern West Virginia, and he'll certainly be missed.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, email@example.com or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.