That is how West Virginia’s players are looking upon what is happening to them these days.
Yes, they went to Baylor and upset the Bears. Then they returned home and bounced Kansas State, a team that had handed them their worst defeat of the season a couple of weeks earlier.
Some people, quite naturally, see things like this happen and begin to think they have arrived.
Well, West Virginia’s players aren’t laying claim to anything yet.
“We ain’t done nothing yet,” is the way guard Eron Harris put it. “What if we were the team that was supposed to win a big game at home. It’s just a game. We haven’t done anything yet. We have accomplished little, small goals inside our big goals, which are to win the conference title and the national championship.”
That isn’t this year, certainly not with two players they had counted upon to balance them inside and outside failing to earn eligibility.
So this year they carry six guns into the battles loaded with just three bullets, and that doesn’t lead to fair fights.
“For all I know we have to stay consistent right now and stay humble,” Harris continued. “We’ve taken steps. We just have to keep taking steps. We can’t go backward. We have to keep moving forward.
“We are a lot more together now. We spend more time together. We’ve finally got some good wins together and when people win together they come to appreciate each other better. They start to accept their roles. This is working.
“We just have to stay consistent in all aspects … in our mindsets, our physicality. It never was easy.”
But you can see that they appreciate each other and what each brings to the table, and next year it should really grow, for this week Juwan Staten, who has taken ownership of the team and is coming off his biggest game with a career-high 35-point performance against K-State, declared he planned to return next year for his senior season.
With him back for a second season with this group and with the missing pieces added, WVU looks very much like a contender in the Big 12.
Coach Bob Huggins has been behind Staten ever since he got him via transfer from Dayton, even when he struggled last season and had trouble scoring.
“Honest to God, I thought Wanny could score,” Huggins said after the Wildcats were defeated Saturday. “I thought we’d get more out of bigs, but they are getting better. They just don’t understand how hard it is. It’s a hard game. They play hard for a while, then they relax and you can’t do that.”
But Juwan Staten, Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, along with Remi Dibo and Nathan Adrian, offer an alternative to leaning on the bigs this season with Staten now the key figure.
“He could do this any time he wants. He could do this every game. We are all proud of him and will stay behind him,” Henderson said.
And what you are seeing now grew out of the warmth of the summer as they polished what they started during the disappointing 2012-13 losing season.
“We spend time in the summer playing every day,” Henderson explained. “We play with each other every day in the summer, so we know each other. It was just a matter of experience, of us taking our role personal and trying to perfect it. If everyone plays his role, we’re really hard to guard and to beat.”
Staten’s role is to provide the spark while the others feed off of him.
“Wanny’s role is to make things happen and lead the team. He has a lot on his shoulders, but he’s done a great job so far,” Henderson said.
Then, if you get Dibo or Adrian going, WVU becomes special.
“A fourth guy makes it really hard for defenses,” Henderson said. “It keeps everything spread and makes it hard for them to guard Wanny. He can drive on them. Ain’t nobody can stay in front of him.”
Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel
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At first glance, it appears that they do not go hand-in-hand, a pair of rules changes the NCAA’s Legislative Council approved this week, sending them off for what seems to be smooth sailing toward becoming rules.
Means, WVU baseball shut out Oklahoma
Junior left-hander John Means of the WVU baseball team threw eight shutout innings and the Mountaineers had a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday evening at L. Dale Mitchell Park.
The Mountaineers (18-15, 3-6 Big 12) broke a six-game Big 12 losing streak after being swept by TCU and Oklahoma State in back-to-back weekends. WVU had 16 hits and did not make an error for the second-straight game.
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Dr. Stephen Graber, an associate professor at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, is among the latest WVU teachers to deplore Oliver Luck’s firing of veteran wrestling coach Craig Turnbull.
He raised some significant questions about that issue last Monday in a meeting of the WVU Faculty Senate.
Huggins signs junior college guard
Coach Bob Huggins completed his 2014-15 West Virginia University recruiting class on Wednesday and deemed it a success after receiving a signed letter of intent from junior college guard Tarik Phillip.
Phillip joins Jevon Carter of Maywood, Ill., and Daxter Miles of Baltimore’s Dunbar High and out of Notre Dame Prep in Massachusetts in the 2014-15 recruiting class.
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The reaction, one suspects, was the same as most people who see either a picture of West Virginia University gymnast Hope Sloanhoffer or meet her for the first time in person — a quick double take, maybe even stumbling over the first few words of an introduction.
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Stringing together some odds and ends which may be of interest to you:
• A beautiful lady came up to my table last Sunday at brunch in the Village of Heritage Point’s main dining room with a message.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
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Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.
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From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.
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