KANSAS CITY - West Virginia University men's basketball coach Bob Huggins said during Tuesday's Big 12 basketball media day at the Sprint Center that the 2013-14 Mountaineers team will look different than the six before it.
His frontcourt players from last year's team are gone and most of this year's frontcourt players are new to Division I, altering the offensive philosophy of Huggins' team.
Much of the scoring responsibilities will belong to guards Eron Harris and Terry Henderson. Harris led the team with 9.8 points per game last season and was the first freshman to lead the team in scoring in 30 years. He was honorable mention preseason all-Big 12, WVU's only representative on the all-conference lists. Henderson averaged 8.8 points per game and made 46 percent of his 3-point shots in Big 12 play, the second-best mark in league play.
"We've gone from, I think, trying to ineffectively throw it inside to where we're going to be more of a perimeter team," said Huggins, who also signed shooters Nathan Adrian from Morgantown High and Remi Dibo from Casey (Wyo.) College.
Harris and Henderson will be in charge of more than just points and perimeter shots, though. Only Juwan Staten, who was a team captain that ended up getting benched for a stretch last season, played more minutes last season among returning players. Harris started the final 17 games and played 683 total minutes. Henderson earned a starting job early in the season before battling a back injury in the middle of the schedule. He played 604 minutes.
"There are a few fun things left in this business, and I think one of them is to watch people mature," Huggins said. "Those guys went from being very shy, skinny little guys not knowing what to do and kind of being not very assertive to taking a leadership role. We don't have any seniors, and we only have five returning guys, so those five guys kind of have to assume a leadership role for us.
"It's kind of fun watching those two guys grow into that role, helping the younger guys with the things that I think they struggled with maybe initially a year ago."
HUGGINS CAME arrived in Kansas City looking like he was back in college.
Huggins skipped the standard black pullover and even the occasional ornate suit for a dark blue cardigan sweater with a gold Flying WV on the left side, a letter-jacket look for the three-time letter-winner at WVU.
"Really good looking, isn't it? You're jealous," he said. "It'll be something for you to write about."
KANSAS HAS won or tied for the regular season championship the past nine years and this year shared preseason favorite honors with Oklahoma State in the Big 12 coaches poll. Yet Coach Bill Self feels a little unusual about the set of circumstances before his 11th season.
"We've been ranked higher in the preseason a lot of times than we are this year," said Self, whose team is No. 6 in the ESPN/USA Today preseason coaches poll with three returning starters, an elite recruiting class and Tarik Black, the Memphis transfer who was voted the Big 12's preseason newcomer of the year. "But it seems like to me there is more hype around this team in large part because of our recruiting class, the unknown, and of course getting Andrew late."