West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins wants his players to be able to play basketball.
That means doing it safely, of course, but the head coach sees benefits in his players remaining in Morgantown in a structured environment as opposed to what unfolded over the summer.
So, while some coaches are questioning the merit of college basketball in a pandemic, Huggins believes that shutting things down isn’t necessarily the right call.
“When we shut down the university and sent our guys home it was the worst thing I could have done because that’s when we had all the positives,” Huggins said. “The time that they’ve been here and when they got back, we’ve tested them and made sure everybody was good.”
The veteran head coach isn’t naïve enough to believe that if players were sent home that they wouldn’t try to play basketball in other spots and come in contact with people either.
“Our guys being here and playing against each other was good and it’s worked out well,” he said.
West Virginia has ended virtually every workout or practice with telling the players that their fate is up to them and if they want to play games that means not putting themselves or their teammates in tough spots. That of course means sacrifices but it comes with the territory in this current climate.
Now, Huggins understands that doing the right thing doesn’t necessarily prevent the spread of the virus, but he has been pleased with how his team has taken the precautions to heart.
“They’ve been fantastic with trying to do the right things and take care of themselves,” he said.
But there is still a long way to go and no celebration is in order at this stage, but a as a whole Huggins believes that the current situation is certainly better than the alternative in the big picture of things. That’s because with something as unpredictable as this virus it puts people in difficult situations with games being moved around in short order, but it certainly beats the alternative.
That’s both for the game and the country as a whole.
“The alternative is we close all the restaurants; we close all the bars, and they don’t open back up. Then we got a whole bunch of downtowns that have absolutely nothing but vacant buildings,” he said. “…We’ve got to keep America moving and I understand we have to do that safely.”
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