Underrated Staten should receive country’s attention - The Daily Athenaeum: Sports

Underrated Staten should receive country’s attention

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Posted: Monday, February 3, 2014 8:10 pm

 

We anticipated his arrival. We waited for his debut. We dealt with his struggle. Now, we celebrate his success. The secret is out in Morgantown. It’s time for the rest of the country to learn about Juwan Staten.

It’s not hard to locate the junior guard and leading scorer for the Mountaineers on the court, as he’s doing everything in his power to put West Virginia back on the college basketball map. His 35-point performance Saturday in WVU’s victory over Kansas State was not only spectacular, but also inspiring.

Staten’s 18 points, nearly six rebounds and six assists a game make him one of the best “do-it-all” guards in America. Statistically, he’s been the best guard in the Big 12 Conference this season, and with all due respect to Marcus Smart and Andrew Wiggins, he’s been the most valuable.

This week, Staten and the Mountaineers are reaping some benefits. The Dayton, Ohio, native was named the Big 12 Player of the Week for the first time. The success has gotten West Virginia back into the top half of the Big 12 at the league’s halfway point. Through nine of its 18 conference games, WVU sits at 5-4 and is on a current two-game winning streak.

In a league in which wins are hard to come by, Staten’s presence, for at least a brief moment, assures that hope has been restored in the once quiet Coliseum. The remaining road is difficult, with five of the team’s next six games against ranked opponents. However, Staten will have a platform. The stage is his for strong individual performances that could cumulate into putting WVU in a position to win.

Staten’s breakout last week was his career-high in points. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to many, though, that this game was coming.

Staten has scored in double figures in 21 of the 22 games played this season. Moreover, Staten has an active streak of 10 consecutive games with 15 or more points. This type of scoring in college basketball is pretty rare, yet Staten’s name doesn’t seem to make much noise.

Staten’s biggest attribute prior to transferring to WVU was his passing ability. As a freshman at the University of Dayton, he averaged 5.4 assists a game, which is good for No. 30 in the country and the second-best freshman at the time. Currently, Staten is passing at an even better clip. Only 13 players in America have a higher assist-per-game total than him.

The combination of scoring and passing has put Staten in an elite class of college basketball point guards. This sort of player has become rare in the college game, as players more routinely become a certain style of player. For a player that seems to do it all well, national attention is deserved.

It’s likely that team success is the final missing piece in Staten’s legacy in college basketball. Doesn’t it seem fitting that Staten’s biggest day in the old gold and blue came during one of the Mountaineers’ brightest moments?

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