Monday, March 29, 2010

I Wouldn't Ignore WVU: Bob Huggins Isn't Much of a Fool

It’s good to know a redemptive story is rapidly in the makings, removing all the unnecessary toxic stains from diminishing a level of trustworthiness at West Virginia. His image has induced much misery and recovered, becoming a paragon as an exemplary voice, and the renaissance man of an athletic program with little respectability.

Not long ago, Bob Huggins was labeled as a dumbass for his stupidity and senseless act when police stopped him on suspicion of drunken driving.

According to police reports, he was given a field sobriety test and asked to say the alphabet correctly, but slurred the words in an unusual order. Near the driver’s side door of his automobile, vomit was seen making the matter even more suspicous. His awful troubles of drunken driving happened years after Huggins suffered a massive heart attack. What to make of his severe health problems, was ongoing stress during an edgy and wearisome coaching career.

Throughout the madness of a burdensome career, he has exploded into a crazy madman by throwing postgame rants and too many tantrums near the sidelines, while enduring infractions and rebellious players. That’s a lot for any coach at the collegiate level to handle, a heavy burden that could turn someone whacko.

“I made a very poor decision that’s reflected negatively on the basketball program and the university,” Huggins said after knocking off Kentucky in the Elite Eight. “For that, I deeply regret it. I take responsibility for my actions. I’m going to do my part to make sure that something like this will never happen again.”

Certainly, he has stayed true to his words.

Six years later, Huggins is now a popular figure in a state where college hoops symbolizes much pride. Six years later, he’s the newest mentor, uplifting spirit and faith at a lackluster program. Not too many had enough courage to pencil in the West Virginia Mountaineers, arguably the best Big East program.

Whoever thought West Virginia could outlast Syracuse or Villanova, each respectively glorified as Big East powerhouses? For all bracket-owners, Butler, West Virginia, Duke and Michigan State, honestly, weren’t among favorites advancing to the Final Four. But either way, the Mountaineers have brightened romance with a date against Duke next Saturday at Indy.

In retrospect, there are some believers who gather clear insights that Huggins is a rogue or an arrogant idiot. Sure, he has made a gruesome mistake in the pass, mirroring the foolish episodes that almost ravaged his reputation and credibility. Sure, he screams and attacks his players, but he has his players persisting to the basic protocols in which his man-to-man defensive standards were beneficial during a remarkable drive to the Final Four.

No wonder West Virginia’s unforeseen chase to the national title materialized and presented sensible belief. Any team can win by playing physical and defending the ball, a well-known custom the Mountaineers are committed to whenever facing opponents.

It was easy to forget and ignore Huggins. Years ago, he toppled because of his arrogance and heinous actions, but why must the nation hold grudges? None of that unlawful hoopla matters with Huggins, nor does he describe a win as redemption.

Even his players know that he wouldn’t mind amending a decrepit identity, but even more so, winning a national championship. Really all that matters is bringing laughter and fulfilling aspiration in a good-natured basketball community, just as much as redeeming sorrow.

“He won’t say it, but I think he feels a sense of redemption,” said West Virginia guard John Flowers. “No one thought we’d be here and no one thought he’d be here.”

This has been a wonderful tournament, with surprises and bracket-obliterators shattering our cleverness regarding a captivating sporting tourney. And suddenly, an unpredictable activity has formed tremendous joy. There’s no reason to deny that Huggins is the most lovable coach in West Virginia, despite running a corrupted program at Cincinnati or recent outbursts at WVU.

Because he has a heated temper, it doesn’t make him a fool as the Mountaineers advanced to the Final Four for the first time since 1959. Huggins hasn’t experienced or tasted a steep championship chase in 18 years. Understand he has gotten the Mountaineers to a sentimental point, only two wins away from immortality. For all Huggins haters, his public issues with alcohol haven’t contributed with his coaching practices.

Without Darryl “Truck” Bryant, their point guard sidelined with a broken foot, the Mountaineers have survived with excellent backup plans. Credit Joe Mazzulla, who had shoulder surgery that normally sidelines players for a full season. He is playing at his very best and took over the game Saturday against Kentucky.

According to reports, Bryant is expected to return for the Final Four, but honestly no one really misses the starting point guard. Mazzulla’s speed and stamina to drive inside the paint for backbreaking layups has been a savior, while the tough-driven Mountaineers have buried an array of threes as well. Other heroics have come out of the sharpshooting, Da’Sean Butler, who has drained three after three after three.

All season long, the Mountaineers were doubted in the Big East and overshadowed. They weren’t supposed to make it this far, but much credit to Huggins.

He’s not much of a fool.