MORGANTOWN — While WVU point guard Kerr Kriisa came to Morgantown with the idea of passing the ball around, it was his shooting form he put on display during Mountaineer Madness on Friday night inside the Coliseum.
Teamed with assistant coach Jordan McCabe, the duo won the 3-point shooting contest with a combined 45 makes in the finals.
Each round was one minute with both coach and player shooting at the same time at both ends of the court.
In the first round, Kriisa made 10 of his first 11 attempts and finished with 21 makes. In the finals, he connected on 24 threes in 60 seconds.
He is a career 35% 3-point shooter during his first three seasons at Arizona, but WVU head coach Josh Eilert has asked Kriisa to shoot the ball more.
“We’re probably going to have to beg him into being more aggressive in terms of taking his shot because he really is a pass-first guy,” Eilert said. “He’s going to have to be a little more aggressive and try to take those open shots when he gets them.”
Kriisa said he’s trying to make that adjustment to his game.
“The first time I chose West Virginia I said, ‘OK, I can come here and move the ball around,’ ” Kriisa said about the change. “Now my role is little bit different. I have to start shooting more. It’s kind of weird, because my instincts are to be a pass-first point guard. It’s hard to be more selfish.”
Kriisa can certainly make an impact on the Mountaineers with his passing.
He led the Pac-12 last season, averaging 5.1 assists per game and he’s recorded 335 assists over the last two seasons with the Wildcats.
His 5.1 assists per game last season led the Pac-12.
WVU, meanwhile, was eighth in assists last season and was last in the Big 12 during the 2021-22 season.
“I just love passing so much,” Kriisa said. “Now, I’m old, it’s time start changing some habits.”
How about this?
During an interview segment, WVU forward Josiah Harris had this declaration:
“I just want it to be known I’m the best bowler on the team,” Harris said. “I average 200.”
Aside from the 3-point shoot-out, the event also saw forward Pat Suemnick win the dunk contest.
In the first round, he bounced the ball between his legs, caught it behind him and brought the ball over his head for the slam.
In the second round, Suemnick took off along the baseline and went under the rim and finished with a reverse jam on the other side.
In the finals, he brought the ball down below his waist while in the air and then windmilled it in.
WVU has yet to hear anything from the NCAA on guard RaeQuan Battle’s waiver for immediate eligibility this season.
The transfer from Montana State is also dealing with an ankle injury, which kept him out of the activities Friday.
Edwards on the boards
The Mountaineers’ struggles to rebound the ball resulted in WVU finishing ninth in that category last season, with no player on the team averaging more than 5.5 boards per game.
Jesse Edwards, a 6-foot-11 Syracuse transfer in his final season of eligibility, could likely bring a quick fix.
He was second in the ACC last season, averaging 10.3 rebounds per game.
“I try to make that a big part of my game,” Edwards said. “Hopefully I can grab the same amount, or more, as last year. I wasn’t always a rebounder, but I think it’s something I’ve added to my game.”
And it’s a stat Edwards takes pride in, adding that rebounding is the first thing he look at when the stat sheet is handed out.
“I want to see that I’m getting (rebounds),” Edwards said. “If I have a game where maybe I play well, but only have two rebounds, I don’t feel great. I’ll feel like I let a lot of them go.”