Juwan Staten knew why WVU head coach Bob Huggins was frustrated in the 2012-13 season.
The guard was in his first season in a Mountaineer uniform after transferring from Dayton, Ohio. He confessed he spent the bulk of the year just trying to figure things out and was lost on the court. Fast forward to this year and Staten is the catalyst to a West Virginia backcourt that (for right now, anyway) can’t be stopped.
Staten, along with fellow guard Eron Harris, have combined to average 42.7 points per game in West Virginia’s three contests. Last Sunday’s 96-83 victory over Duquesne could have been a delightful preview as to what to expect from the duo this season.
Both Harris and Staten recorded a career-high in points with 33 and 28, respectively. Staten went 7-for-11 from the field and Harris hit six 3-pointers. The emergence of offense is welcomed, but these two have contributed more than just points on the scoreboard.
Staten is second on the team in rebounding with almost six per game, despite standing a mere 6 foot 1. The senior guard also dished out more than seven assists in the team’s first three games. The do-it-all leader of a team with so many newcomers has already proven himself to be a valuable resource.
It seems a game or practice doesn’t go by that Huggins hasn’t praised Staten. He routinely refers to him as “a leader” and calls his performances “terrific.” In truth, Huggins and the Mountaineers need Staten as well as sophomores Harris and Terry Henderson big time.
In WVU’s two wins this season, Staten and Harris have worked together to shoot 59 and 63 percent. They are a combined 32-of-52 shots made. In the Mountaineers’ loss to Virginia Tech last week, the two shot just 24 percent and scored a total of just 26 points. Of course, three games is a small sample size, but the results are pretty clear.
Remember, help will be on its way. Henderson and veteran guard Gary Browne have both been hampered by injuries early into this season. It appears Henderson’s health has really improved, which is good news for the high-scoring backcourt.
It’s asking an awful lot of Staten and Harris to continue their hot start, especially when the entire roster isn’t in place yet. However, they have to lead the way and continue to shoot the ball well.
WVU’s defense and rebounding has been suspect, at best, early on. Perhaps the only way to stay in games is to outscore teams (much to Huggins’ displeasure).
One thing is for sure, though. These talented guards have made trips to the WVU Coliseum fun again.
All we can do is sit back and watch these guys score.