The Times West Virginian

Bob Herzel

February 2, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Staten taking charge of the hardwood for Mountaineers

MORGANTOWN — There hadn’t been anything like it in these parts since the night a fellow you might remember by the name of Da’Sean Butler went off for 43 points against Villanova, a staggeringly efficient 35-point outburst by Juwan Staten that left Kansas State in West Virginia University’s dust, 81-71.

But the truth be known, what Staten pulled off on Saturday came out of the same DNA of the performances Butler made common occurrences on the road to the Final Four.

It came from hard work and creativity and a bond between a coach bound for the Hall of Fame in Bob Huggins and player that Huggins could respect enough to turn loose.

Slowly, over the last couple of years, this offense has evolved into Staten’s. In truth, as the year began, it seemed to be molded to allow Staten to be the setup man for Eron Harris, but with each passing – and shooting – game, Staten took a little bit of a firmer grip.

And that was fine with Huggins.

“He wants to win. That’s the bottom line,” Huggins said.

And, with this team, the best chance to win is to have the ball in Staten’s hands and allow him to create.

“I just wanted to win,” Staten said after Kansas State. “I saw opportunities and took advantage of them. I never get tired creating,”

He proves it over and over, playing 38, 39, 40 or more minutes, leading the Big 12 in minutes played.

“Coach is giving me a lot of freedom. I know Huggs at a different level. We understand each other. I do all he asks me to do,” Staten explained.

And what he did in this game is something you may see again.

“He could do this any time he wants,” Terry Henderson said. “His role is to make this happen. A lot is on his shoulders, and he has done a great job.”

For the Kansas State game, Huggins got creative. He had some ideas that he felt were necessary to beat the Wildcats.

“We changed some things that we thought would help with Juwan. Honestly, we got what we wanted. We thought we could get to the free-throw line, and that happened,” he said.

Yeah, they got to the free throw line, a season-high 37 times, making 29 of them.

How important was that?

Kansas State made eight free throws out of 19 attempts …. Missing 11 in in a 10-point defeat.

Huggins went about devising a plan to counteract the gang guarding that K-State does. It had really driven WVU crazy in the first meeting, so he came up with something different this time around.

He put the ball in Staten’s hands and kept it there while everything spread out.

That left all the decision making on Staten, whether to take his man one-on-one, which he could do any time he wanted, or to pass the ball to a cutting Henderson or Harris.

“I’ve said it a thousand times,” Huggins said. “The kid cares and he works. He spends time and studies film. I’m really

proud of the fact that he hasn’t backed off. He’s kind of turned into one of the other guys who have turned into other great players that we’ve had.

“I tell them to step out of practice to save their legs, and the next time I turn around they’re back in there. That’s the way they all are. He’s in early and stays late. He’s the kind of guy who you hope has success because he’s earned it.”

And Huggins has had some big-time guards like Nick Van Exel, Steve Logan and Kenny Satterfield.

Van Exel had the kind of quickness Staten has and, of course, went on to become an all-NBA player. Staten has skills that Logan and Satterfield didn’t duplicate.

Put him with Harris and Henderson and give them the rest of this year to learn each other even better and a year from now they might prove to be dominant in the Big 12.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
Bob Herzel
  • Holgorsen’s program hits turning point

    You can almost sense, as you watch West Virginia University football coach Dana Holgorsen sit before the gathered Big 12 media contingent answering questions in the Omni Hotel in Arlington, Texas, that he senses his program has reached a turning point.

    July 23, 2014

  • Big 12 Media Days Foo_time(1).jpg Trickett’s play key factor for Mountaineers’ success

     In the end, it comes down to the quarterback.
    Always has with Dana Holgorsen, always will.
    Quarterback is the offense with the West Virginia University coach. When he does well, the team wins – almost always.
    When he does poorly, the team doesn’t stand much of a chance.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • 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

House Ads
Featured Ads