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Bob Huggins to bring back Cincinnati style

The easiest way to tell that West Virginia will be a young team next season is by checking its current roster, which consists of only four returning players.

There is talent there with seniors Darryl Bryant and Kevin Jones, who withdrew his name from the NBA draft. Deniz Kilicli is back along with Kevin Noreen, who didn't play much before needing season-ending knee surgery.

With a lack of experience, there is also the benefit of somewhat of a blank slate. According to what associate head coach Larry Harrison told Metronews Statewide Sportsline, the team's preseason tour of Italy presents an opportunity to go back to playing an old-school style of Bob Huggins basketball.

"We're going to introduce a new style of play," Harrison said. "With the type of players that we have, we're going to try to play like the old Cincinnati teams that we had with the running and trapping and just playing full-court defense. We're going to try to put that in with these 10 days of practice that we have. And then when we take them over to Italy, we're going to play that way and get them used to playing that style. And then come back in October, we'll break it down a lot more and give them a little more time to adjust to our teaching. We're going to throw them into the fire right way because that's the way we want them to get used to playing."

Harrison, who coached under Huggins at Cincinnati from 1989-97, sounded excited. During his eight years there, the Bearcats were 192-71 and won six conference championships. They went to the Final Four and made two trips to the Elite Eight playing in Huggins' aggressive style.

Can a new batch of players help dust off what worked for Cincinnati? When they're not busy sightseeing in Italy, that will be the big question as the Mountaineers get an early start in preparing for the season. Laying the groundwork has already begun for Huggins, as he'll be going back to the basics for what was successful in the past.