After watching his team struggle inside in the last several games, West Virginia coach Bob Huggins reacted with urgency during a break this week.
Huggins told the West Virginia Radio Network after the Mountaineers’ 82-66 victory over TCU on Monday night that he was looking at some players during a day off Tuesday.
It meant that Huggins left Morgantown at 7 a.m. to scout two players on the West Coast. One of them apparently is a legacy recruit related to one of the greatest players who has played for Huggins.
Huggins gave hints about who he was recruiting but did not offer specifics because of NCAA rules.
But in his description to West Virginia broadcasters Tony Caridi and Jay Jacobs, the identity of at least one of the players was clear.
Gunning for a K-Mart Jr.?
Huggins said his first stop Tuesday would be in Las Vegas to see a “6-10, 6-11 player” in a recruiting class “down the road.”
That apparently is 6-10 center Jalen Thomas of Coronado High School in Henderson, Nev. Thomas, a 4-star recruit in the Class of 2019, has been primarily linked to Xavier.
Huggins also said he would be headed to California “to see a 6-7 guy that has the same name as his father and who you know.”
That hint would point to 6-6, 185-pound power forward Kenyon Martin Jr. of West Hills (Calif.) Chaminade High School. He’s the son of Kenyon Martin, a Huggins favorite at Cincinnati who won the Naismith Award in 2000.
The 1999-2000 Cincinnati squad likely was Huggins’ best team. It was ranked No. 1 heading into the NCAA Tournament before Martin was injured in the Conference USA Tournament. The Bearcats fell to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tourney and were eliminated by Tulsa in the second round.
Martin still was the No. 1 pick in the 2000 NBA draft and had a stellar 16-season career in the NBA.
His son has been heavily recruited by Cincinnati, Georgetown and California-Santa Barbara.
The bloodlines are there, and it’s not surprising that Huggins is willing to fly a long way to show his interest — even if it means flying across the country in the middle of the season with a tough game with Kansas looming on Saturday night.