WVU interim HC Josh Eilert has been incorporating a 2-3 zone at the beginning of the season. West Virginia did not expect to use the zone defense until they were forced to roll out with an eight-man rotation. Now it seems like perfect sense for the Mountaineers to keep using it.
“Could be a staple,” Eilert said following a 13-point win over Jacksonville State. “We’ll see. Nothing is off the table when you’re trying to win games.”
This is all pretty new to Eilert as the Kansas native worked under Bob Huggins for nearly two decades. Huggins rarely ran zone defense throughout his career, but now with the Basketball Hall of Famer gone, it’s the perfect time to try something new. West Virginia’s biggest offseason addition was Syracuse big man Jesse Edwards, who played under Jim Boeheim for four years. Boeheim is notorious for running a 2-3 zone defense. With Edwards down low at the five, the 6-foot-11 big can help his teammates become better running the zone.
“You know with Jesse, he’s a natural back there. He spent four years in a zone so we picked up a few things that we could just nail down. We didn’t get over complicated by any means with it. We just wanted to pick two or three things,” Eilert said. “Most kids have played a 2-3 zone so it’s not like it’s crazy unnatural. There are things he’s given us that we can utilize.”
West Virginia played more zone defense than man-to-man for the first time this season, according to Synergy Basketball. WVU had played only two possessions in zone against Monmouth. The Mountaineers then played 35 possessions of zone against Jacksonville State on Tuesday.
WVU G Kobe Johnson, who played under Huggins for two seasons, talked about the difference between man and zone defenses.
“It does feel different, it’s different than picking up full court but I get a little rest on my legs in 2-3,” he said.
West Virginia will have a few more days off before traveling to Florida for the Fort Myers Invitational. WVU will play SMU in the first round on Monday night and will play Wisconsin or Virginia on Wednesday.
Watch the WVSN postgame show below that discusses what changed from the Monmouth result to the JSU win.
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WV Sports Now Daily Notebook – December 11
Absence of WR Tez Walker to Hamper North Carolina’s Offense in Bowl Against WVU
WVU Football Looking to Add Another TE to Offense with Offer to MSU Transfer
WVU Wrestling Defeats Air Force, Northern Colorado to Sweep Weekend Road Trip
WVU Women’s Basketball Destroys Delaware State 107-43
WVU Football WR Decides to Enter Portal for Final College Season
Several Key WVU Football Players Announce Plans to Return, Promote Country Roads Trust
Former 4-Star Recruit, Ohio State Transfer DB Adds West Virginia Offer
Would Neal Brown Ever Welcome Back Former Mountaineers Available in Portal?
Marshall HC Charles Huff Directly Blames Fans for QB Transferring
Postgame Reaction to WVU’s Win Over Drexel
Postgame Reaction After WVU Basketball’s 80-63 Loss to Pitt
Watch: WVU C Jesse Edwards’ Dunk Ignites Crowd at Backyard Brawl
Watch: Neal Brown, Charlotte Sports Commission Executive Director Danny Morrison on Duke’s Mayo Bowl
Watch: Eilert, Naveh Preview Backyard Brawl Against Pitt
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