Men's Basketball, WVU Sports

WVU’s Harris set to knock heads with ’Nova

BOSTON — WVU’s Wes Harris described coping this week with an “endless headache that comes and goes,” but he appeared fine as his team prepared for its Sweet 16 game against Villanova March 23.

Four days removed from a head-to-head collision that knocked him out of the second-round NCAA tournament win, over Marshall, Harris was cleared to participate in the Thursday morning practice, at TD Garden.

The agile, 6-foot-8 sophomore averages just 5.5 points per game but could be crucial to contesting Villanova’s array of shooters.

“His size and length bother people, particularly bothers perimeter people,” Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins said.

Harris has started all 36 games this season while playing the fourth-most minutes on the team.

His skull-banging smash-up with Marshall’s Jannson Williams prematurely ended each player’s night during the first half of WVU’s 94-71 win Sunday. In the aftermath, while Harris underwent concussion protocols and missed a couple of practices in Morgantown, he received plenty of get-well sentiments from the hometown folks in Jackson, Miss.

“My homeboys, my family, everybody that’s cool with me and knows me, they hit me up to make sure I was straight,” Harris said.


After a nor’easter expedited their charter flight to Boston, the Mountaineers endured some midair drama when an air conditioner unit spat smoke into the cabin.

“People are saying Hail Marys and trying to think of all the bad things they did and ask forgiveness and all that,” Huggins said. He joked that the worst part of the ordeal involved assistant Jay Kuntz, seated behind him.

“Jay was screaming like a little school girl,” Huggins said.

Kuntz replied in a tweet: “To defend myself, there was certainly no crying lol. My apologies for asking the panicking flight attendant what the heck was going on. It’s on me lol.”


The day after Big East Commissioner Val Ackerman proposed changing college basketball’s one-and-done rule to two-or-none, Villanova coach Jay Wright discussed why he and his conference peers support the change.

“The whole issue is an NBA issue,” he said. “These players should be allowed to come out of high school and go right to the NBA if they’re good enough, and if they’re good enough to be potential NBA players, they shouldn’t have to go to college if they don’t want to.”

Wright disagrees with the NBA guideline prohibiting the drafting of players under age 19 unless they are one year removed from high school.

“Some players are being forced to go (to college), and coaches are being forced to coach guys that don’t want to be in college, and that’s on the NBA. It’s not on the NCAA,” Wright said. “The NBA should provide an opportunity for them to go to the G League and be developed in the G League if they don’t want to be educated and go to college. So we’re putting kids in a tough spot. We’re putting college coaches in a tough spot.”


— Arriving in Boston a day early allowed some players to attend the Celtics-Thunder game on Tuesday night. Esa Ahmad caught up with guard Terry Rozier, a former high school teammate at Shaker Heights, Ohio.

— Villanova commits only 10.4 turnovers per game, which ranks 14th best in the nation. WVU forces 16.5 per game, fifth most in the nation.