WVU Gameday Blog

Friday Feedback

Welcome to the Friday Feedback, eligible for six-and-a-half years and counting. And speaking of, we’re officially in the #NoHolton zone. The NCAA finally got around to gathering and ruling on some cases and that meant telling West Virginia that junior college transfer Jonathan Holton is not eligible to play this season.

The 6-foot-7 Holton, who led all of junior college with 14.1 rebounds per game last season and would have helped the Mountaineers this season, will take a redshirt and be allowed to continue practicing with the team. He now has two seasons of eligibility remaining.

I don’t want to spend more time on this than I already have, but suffice to say it’s been a meandering and perplexing story. This is from the Oct. 24 “You’ll Never Talk Alone”:

Sorry. It’s been a long time without a proclamation. Huggins told us he doesn’t know if WVU is working for Holton’s eligibility, which seems like WVU isn’t, unless Huggins is only concerned about practice, which is conceivable.

I guess I have a distrust of things now that maybe isn’t fair. But what you see here is a guy who’s been enrolled a while and who still isn’t clear to play. And Huggins told us it’s not a first semester/second semester thing, which eliminates some possibilities for the hold up.

Gradually it became a thing that might be solved soon. Then it became a possible second semester thing. Then Huggins started to bristle the more he was asked about it, no doubt a combination of the persistent inquiries and the NCAA’s pace. Then last week Holton was all set to travel because WVU was under the impression the NCAA would rule and approve in time for the flight to Texas and the TCU/Texas Tech trip. And if Holton couldn’t play that Saturday, then surely this Saturday.


This thing never made sense beyond what seemed obvious. Oftentimes that’s correct. No one has ever explained this to us, because it’s not permissible, and maybe it was never even clear to them, but I have to think WVU was rebuffed initially and then sought a waiver and completed all of the requisite tasks to get Holton eligible.

And now a lot of people want to scream and cry about the NCAA screwing WVU. But the feeling I’ve always received is that this isn’t that. It’s not a NCAA thing. It’s not a WVU thing. It’s not even a Holton thing. He tried to graduate from junior college in a year. It takes a lot of people two years. You can do it, but remember Holton was also expelled from Rhode Island mid-semester and that complicated how credit hours and courses were treated and transferred.

In short, this is not a subjective situation. The rules are there and they’re applied. That WVU (maybe) received an opportunity to pursue a waiver doesn’t mean much. It certainly doesn’t guarantee a decision will be overturned. It short, it’s a form of objection and it can always be overruled.

Silver lining: WVU is in a good groove. Holton has two full seasons remaining. He would have played just a half of this season and probably needed, what, three games, two weeks, to get himself in order. And WVU’s good groove would have been interrupted for a like period of time.

I don’t know, I guess that’s shallow, but that’s also probably the depth of the situation, too.

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, have a plan.

glibglub said:

But is he allowed to have sandwiches?

And we’re off. We’ll finish where we started, honest.

Mack said:

Earlier this season, Mr. Casazza complained that the Charleston Civic Center was “the only” or “one of the only” arenas with horrible internet service. From reading his blogs, it seems that horrible internet service occurs far more often than good internet service at these arenas.

I’ll hang up and listen.

There’s no pattern I can find. I have one computer that works and one that doesn’t work at the Coliseum. Hickman;s doesn’t work at the Coliseum. He’s has had road games his won’t work at, too, but his was the only that worked Saturday. And I had no issues at Texas Tech last season. But the Civic Center is reliably terrible.

pknocker40 said:

Ah yes, the Queen of Hearts John Higgins – the same guy that T’d up Matt Humphrey for clapping his hands after a made 3.

Humphrey thought Higgins was from West Virginia and seemed to use the illogical bias he thought existed against Higgins, who is from Nebraska. Higgins also had a pair of run-ins with Aaric Murray last season, which, never mind. I remain convinced the Mountaineers don’t like having him around.

Kevin said:

Maybe I missed it, but was there an event or occurance that started WVU’s problem with Higgins? Has it developed over time? Or does Higgins just have a penchant for embarrasing himself?

Slow burn, but there are instances from the past. There were things said Monday that had to have made it on the radio that illustrated WVU’s feelings, though. Let’s track it now.

Rugger said:

Seems he had it in for Mizzou before we came along.


Yeesh. He looks like Mark Richt, too, which means we have a lot of time to make jokes along the lines of “John Higgins has lost control of this game!”

avb31 said:

Noreen’s role is to use up his five fouls, play 8-10 mistake free minutes, and try to clean up some garbage when the opportunity arises. He is good in that role.

Oh, come on, he can play more than that. But the idea is pretty accurate. He does seem to make one big play a game and he’s a perfect teammate. He’s always talking to guys before they go into or when they come out out of the game. I think the biggest difference is that this year he doesn’t have to take/make shots or score. Remember last season when we and the Mountaineers were talking about how Noreen had to shoot and score to justify a spot on the floor?

jtmountaineer said:

As a Noreen guy, I have to admit he’s committing a lot of uncharacteristic mistakes. He’s probably the biggest reason we lost the Va. Tech game, and he’s consistently getting called for holding fouls he should have learned not to do by now. But when he gets his head right, he’s capable of 15-20 solid, dazzle-free, mistake-free minutes. His hustle isn’t as apparent on this team because, thank god, we have other kids who hustle this year.

There you go. His fouling does puzzle me, but he’s just not a fast or a faster guy.

PeterB said:

Encouraging when they didn’t go el-foldo at a time when they easily could have. Sure, there were plays to be made that would have ended it in regulation, but they took care of business in OT. Next question is if they can beat someone they’re not supposed to. Plenty of opportunities for that, starting Saturday.

That’s what made that trip most useful. They were challenged in both games and in different ways. TCU basically came out of the corner fighting southpaw and making a ton of 3s. Texas Tech got hot late. WVU never fully collapsed and picked itself up from a pretty low moment in the final minute against the Red Raiders. Previously this season, they didn’t rally or respond favorably on the road. I kind of think Saturday is possible if the arch continues. Smart, selfless, disciplined and determined play works wonders for these guys. But they have to get better on defense. Opposing field goal percentages are way too high.

smeer said:

i’m not ready to anoint them anything yet. 16 more conference games with a still very young ball club

what I do like is there is upside and Huggs is tinkering with lineups and rotations – something he tried last year with disaster, but this year has more tools in his belt.

when he settles on who can play with who and who will really be that go to player and who can he put out to make D stops.

this team will tell us who they are the last five to seven ball games

but it needs a signature win over a Somebody at home and on the road to get over the mental hump

I like the team – it’s best days are a head of it – but not sure how far out those days extend until we are in that “we will beat you at our place and beat you at your place” zone.

we could go dancing, but the strategic wins have still alluded us to date and we’ve only had glimpses that this team can compete with top talent – not forty minutes

still hoping against not waiting for the fall

And there you go. Won’t argue with any of that. Also, did that book make it in time for Christmas?

Rugger said:

Dana initially thought we could recruit TX and FL. TX has been a bust, FL is the gift that keeps giving. I like a guy who can admit when he’s wrong.

Well, to be fair, he intended to recruit Texas like they recruit Florida. They’d go after a guy like Childress — singled out, lengthy recruitment — every so often, they’d rely on contacts to get maybe a few kids every year who weren’t getting the offers they or their high schools wanted and they’d swoop in late and target uncommitted seniors. That said, it’s pretty clear they want in Florida now more than ever.

oklahoma mountaineer said:

Definitely think this could be of great help in FL recruiting. Two questions come to mind, 1) does being a HS coach having players recruited = being a good recruiter and 2) is Slaughter being blamed for not enough pass rush.

I’m not an expert evaluator, but I can say one thing for certain — guys under his coaching seem to be better year over year under him and I’m not sure that he was given a fair hand to play with, particularly in year 1 in terms of depth.

Let’s start at the finish: They’re tied to the cornerbacks and vice versa, but certainly a pass rush could have helped the secondary more. They were last in the Big 12 in sacks and that came after they got off to a really strong start. Certainly he could have had better talent and better depth, but you have to play the card game — and let’s not forget WVU was pretty bad against the run, too. As for the first, interesting question and who knows the answer here? But he certainly knows the players and the coaches in the area. He’ll have an idea about the talent and the coaches around there will know him, and he’ll be a pretty good ambassador for the university. It happens a lot. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

jtmountaineer said:

This might be a dumb question, but wouldn’t Cogdell be more valuable to WVU as a high school coach with all his players’ ears than he will be as an outsider whom future players won’t really know? Obviously an upgrade in salary and status if you’re Cogdell, but how much recruiting experience do high school coaches possess?

Another interesting point. You could get a small number of players every few years from one school because of one guy or you could let that one guy go out among all the schools every year and try to get a much larger number of players. I think they’ll still enjoy good odds at getting Miramar players and, again, people around there know him, so his rep can be helpful and grow. Can he coach college players? Who knows? But he was one and sooner or later the guy was going to get a chance to do it. It’s up to him now to stand on his own feet.

Sammy said:

What happened to Avery Williams? Not a major loss, but curious what that was about.

If he’s gone, further highlights the cruddy recruiting at DB and cornerback in particular, with guys like Mike Dorsey, Vance Roberts and Williams out and others like Chestnut (injuries), Napoleon and others not developing into contributors.

Fair point. And Also didn’t play despite opportunities and probably wanted a new start elsewhere. Chestnut has been decent when healthy and that health trouble has kept him from progressing  — and he’s probably near his ceiling now. Teammates like Napoleon. He’s just young and small, but he was pretty good on special teams. They’ll benefit from having the same coach in back-to-back seasons at last.

Shoot4Show said:

Petrino and Pitino at Louisville? You have to wonder what the recruits’ moms are thinking when one of those guys is sitting in your living room pitching UL as the place for her son to begin his journey into manhood.

I get it’s about W’s and dollars, but how does an AD look anyone in the eye with both those characters on board. One I get, but they better have a heckuva PR department with both on campus. It’s not a matter of if but when.

Hey, don’t forget Clint Hurtt! And how do you know it’s about Ws and dollars? I ask because everyone there has gone out of their way to not say that, even though it’s obvious. All this redemption stuff is crap. Just say it’s about winning. Don’t try to fool people.

philip said:

but back to cogdell: wvu head coach 2024?

Not impossible. Not now.

AnxiousEER97 said:

So, I’m listening to this Petrino/Rodriguez comparison … and the mind wonders.

Again, not impossible. Not now. Just to be clear, I didn’t say it will happen. I do know the reunion is easier because of who is and is not around any longer. And we can agree it wouldn’t be odder than Petrino/Louisville. It’s just easier now than it was a week ago.

tom sirk said:


is the new baseball stadium going to be open 2105 season?

loved your “that’s what she said” quip


Slow times, if things don’t pick up, may have to bring up sledding on cafeteria trays down fraternitry row/N. High Street

Yes on the stadium, and I’m OK with the latter. Personally, I pioneered the sledding on med school hill. You hit that sidewalk in the middle of the hill and got fired 10 feet straight out over the rest of the hill. Extreme, brah.

lowercase jeff said:

how come we have never discussed the possibility of doing a tailgate for a football game next, or any, year?

mike could come, and pay for everything

dave could come, and complain

mack could come, or not

One of my bosses reads this blog regularly. He’s proposed a tailgate in the past. We can make it happen.

oklahoma mountaineer said:

Suggest you go to the Coliseum and see him play Saturday as he wont be back in a Cowboy uniform again…..he’s playing for a National Championship chance and a high lottery pick.

He’s truly an awesome talent — I preface this by saying he’s not the next coming — but he reminds me of Magic Johnson. Height, ball handling skills, genuine love of the game, and raises the skill set of the players around him like the guy who played the 5 in the playoffs his Rookie Year.

(Marcus Smart)

Rugger said:

In that case, put Sweat on him.


Clarence Oveur said:

I don’t want any f***ing sandwiches. What is it with you and fixin’ f***ing sandwiches?!

Yeah, that happened this week. I rather liked it. That’s what makes this place so weird and wonderful. Didn’t see one mention of Nick’s Canteen, though. 

glibglub said:

The question is, in light of the fact that it involves delicious sammiches, would Bob Huggins nevertheless be appalled by all of this rearview mirror gazing?

Enjoy the weekend!