With his Mountaineers just two wins away from winning another national championship, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins says it’s time to break things down and focus on the non-fundamentals.
“At this stage of the tournament, only great teams are left,” said Huggins. “We can all hit free throws and box out and throw bounce passes. But what can set you apart is the non-fundamentals. And that’s what we’re working on. Today I had them practicing hook shots from half-court.”
Senior forward Da'Sean Butler says he thinks working on the non-fundamentals will raise his draft stock.
“I get sick of hearing about how fundamentally-sound I am from scouts and NBA types,” he said. “It’s like a slur. You think I can't do more than shoot, defend, drive the to basket and rebound? Oh, yeah? Watch this … do you think that kind of player could have done a cartwheel into a dunk like that? I might just pull that one out in the Final Four if I get a breakaway.”
Point guard Truck Bryant has been wowing his teammates at practice with his non-fundamentals, obscure “skills” he mastered while he was out of action with a foot injury.
"So many players think that when they get hurt, they can’t improve their game,” said Bryant. “Not true. Look what I can do now – cool, huh? I bet you never saw anyone spin a ball on the tip of their tongue like that, did you? And that’s just one of the things I mastered. I am as non-fundamentally sound as they come.”
While focusing on the non-fundamentals with his team, Huggins says his job is to make sure his players don’t go overboard with it.
“Non-fundamentals are very important. If the final play comes down to who can bank the ball off the JumboTron and into the basket – who has the advantage there?” he said. “Not Duke. We’ve been practicing that. But I can’t have my players do too many non-fundamentals. Then you get into Globetrotters territory – tossing confetti and stuff. We have to stick to the fundamental non-fundamentals.”