The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

November 9, 2013

Staten leads changed WVU to 77-62 win

MORGANTOWN — It really is a new year for West Virginia University basketball.

A new year, a better year … maybe even a very, very surprising year.

First of all, forget that 13-19 record from last season. Forget the missed shots, the failed rebounds, the turnovers. Forget the frustration on Bob Huggins’ face nearly every time he watched his team play.

If the opening game of the 2013-14 season is any indication, this is going to be a fun team, a hard-knocking team, a fast-moving team … a winning team.

Right from the start of what was a 77-62 opening victory over Mount St. Mary’s before 8,336 fans it was obvious that things were going to be different.

How different?

The first shot of the year was a jump shot by Juwan Staten.

Swish.

A year ago, you would have had to beg Staten to take an open jumper.

This year he was the leading scorer for the Mountaineers with 22 points, hitting 7 of 10 shots, canning jumpers, adding a breakaway dunk, grabbing five rebounds, throwing in six assists to a single turnover and adding two steals.

Moments later Eron Harris hit the year’s first 3. He would finish with 19 points, with half of WVU’s six 3s, three assists, four rebounds and two steals.

After Harris’ first 3, Morgantown High’s Nathan Adrian hit his first collegiate 3. He would finish making all 3 of the 3s he took and all four of the shots he took as he scored 11 points despite injuring an ankle.

By the time WVU had six baskets, six different players had scored them.

It is going to be that kind of team.

Even Brandon Watkins, who no one expected a whole lot from right away, went 5-for-7 shooting and finished with 10 points and four rebounds.

A year ago, you might recall, Huggins couldn’t find anything good to say about his team.

The only time he smiled was at the end of press conferences.

Now, he sounds like John Wooden talking about Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Bill Walton.

And his players are the same. They are having fun again.

Take Staten on making shots.

“It was a matter of changing my will, my perspective,” he explained. “We have younger guys, inexperienced guys. It is forcing me to step up.”

It isn’t something he is just realizing.

“He talked to me about being a leader,” Huggins said. “I explained that you have to lead by example. You have to be the hardest worker. You have to know what I want done. You have to come in early and leave late.”

And that is what Staten did.

And Harris. And Terry Henderson, who is out with a shin problem but will only add yet another dimension upon his return.

WVU did everything it wanted to do except rebound, being outrebounded by Mount St. Mary’s 30-28.

“I’d like to have rebounding and shooting,” Huggins said. “I don’t know why we can’t have both. It was a total team effort. Everyone contributed. As a staff and personally, we didn’t do a good job. We have so much to get in.”

The WVU Mountaineers took an early lead and clung to it, widening it before halftime to nine points, then built on it in the second half. They never trailed and never were tied.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Saban, family happy at Alabama

    Alabama football coach Nick Saban, whose team opens the season against West Virginia in Atlanta on Aug. 30, denied receiving or turning down this offseason an offer of $100 million to coach Texas, indicating he planned to finish his career as coach of the Crimson Tide.

    July 18, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: ‘Quarterback child prodigy’ comes to WVU amidst very high expectations

    Has West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen finally put the arrow he needs in his quiver with the commitment received Wednesday from high school quarterback David Sills, who is a rather extraordinary story and may also just be a rather extraordinary quarterback?

    July 18, 2014

  • WVU kicker Molinari ‘All-American boy’

    West Virginia kicker Mike Molinari may not be an All-American but he is an All-American boy.
    He was honored for that on Wednesday when the Allstate Insurance Company and the American Football Coaches Association announced the West Virginia redshirt senior kicker/punter Michael Molinari is a nominee for the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

    July 16, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Smallwood puts future in jeopardy

    The last thing West Virginia’s struggling football program needed as twilight was setting on Bastille Day in Morgantown was to have one of its own whisked off to the North Central Regional Jail on a fugitive warrant from another state, especially a player who had figured to play a key role in the resurrection of a program gone bad.

    July 16, 2014

  • WVU player arrested in Delaware case

    West Virginia University running back Wendell Smallwood has been arrested by university police and is being held at North Central Regional Jail awaiting extradition on a felony warrant out of Delaware.

    July 15, 2014

  • WVU hoping to add two non-conference contests

    West Virginia is nearing the completion of deals to play football games against long-time rival Virginia Tech, now in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Tennessee of the Southeastern Conference, according to a source close to the negotiations.
    An announcement is expected shortly.

    July 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: MLB All-Star game biggest celebration of top athletes

    You will pardon me if I find something else to do when the Pro Bowl rolls around, or if I try to find a “Three Stooges” marathon when it’s time for the NHL All-Star game. As for the NBA All-Star game, I’d rather watch a replay of a four-year-old Uruguay-Ethiopia World Cup soccer match in which I knew the outcome.
     

    July 14, 2014

  • Howes learns to ‘never settle’ as WVU administrator

    You probably don’t know much about Terri Howes, even though she is a rather high-ranking executive in the West Virginia University athletic department.
    “I like it that way,” she said, sitting in a large office at the Coliseum, decorated with pictures and memorabilia, a jar of candy sitting by the door for visitors to dip into.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Rich Rod’s return not impossible

    As you may guess, in the wake of LeBron James’ decision to let bygones be millions and return to his rooters in Cleveland, more than once was I approached with someone wanting to know if this opened the door for a return to West Virginia University of their once-reviled coach Rich Rodriguez.

    July 13, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN: Trickett best option as a leader

    In the end, West Virginia University’s decision to place the mantle of starting quarterback upon veteran Clint Trickett was less about quarterback than it was about leadership.
    This is not to say that Trickett lacks the talent to succeed as quarterback in coach Dana Holgorsen’s system.

    July 6, 2014

House Ads
Featured Ads