The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

January 25, 2014

HERTZEL COLUMN: Point blank: Staten sparks WVU offense

MORGANTOWN — It just might be that the point guard position has the most creative athletes in American sports.

It probably started with the first behind-the-back, no-look pass that Bob Cousy threw in an era when they were still shooting two-handed set shots from the perimeter.

Ever since then, point guards have been stretching the scope of their position, stretched no further in creativity than Magic Johnson took before the untimely end to his career.

The way the game has evolved, you have no chance to win if you don’t have a productive point guard, and West Virginia University has just that in Juwan Staten.

For a while last year after he transferred from Dayton and sat out a year, there was some question whether Staten would be able to handle it at the point.

“Last year was kind of difficult because I was coming off a year where I didn’t have any game experience in the system,” Staten said. “Last year didn’t go as we planned. It just let me know I needed to look in the mirror and do some things differently.

“As a basketball player, when you’re really not playing the way you want to play it weighs on you, on and off the court, so I just came out this year with a new attitude and new mentality, and it’s been working for me.”

Staten has proven himself this year to be a scorer and a distributor. His job is to see that the offense runs as it should, and he has immersed himself in it, studying what makes it work and even more important what makes his teammates work at their best.

Asked to compare Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, the two shooters he is normally trying to set up, he put it this way:

“They’re both great shooters. They’re both unique scorers in their own way. I think Eron scores a lot outside. This year, Terry has shown he can put the ball on the floor, but he can do a lot of other things, too. He has helped us rebounding and blocking some shots, which is something we didn’t expect him to do.

“Eron is a strong-willed kid, and he really believes in himself a lot, so you know he will be ready to take the next shot no matter how many he’s made or missed in the past. Terry is a someone you have to keep motivating, because sometimes when he misses a couple of shots he tries to go away from it and do different things, which is good, but we need him to shoot the ball.”

See, playing the point requires you be not only skilled at passing the ball and shooting the ball, but you have to understand what goes on inside you teammates’ heads.

This is something at which Staten excels. You almost have to have a sixth sense as to when the players are going to make shots, and that often can come from their state of mind.

For example, the Texas Tech victory. Everything was clicking in that game.

“All week in practice we’ve been telling each other how good we look. We hear a lot of stuff from the media, from people on Twitter, but ultimately it’s up to us to get the job done. We’ve just been encouraging each other and doing everything we can to get the job done,” Staten said.

Brimming with confidence, WVU went out and shot 69.2 percent in the second half and 53.7 percent for the game.

“When we are making them, we’re pretty good at piling them up. When they start missing, that’s when we have to find other ways to score,” Staten said.

When WVU takes a lead into the final minutes of a game, Staten’s role is magnified. He becomes like a closer in a baseball game coming in to get the final outs.

His job is to control the game, get the ball in the hands of his scorers and use the clock.

“I understand pretty much everything Huggs (coach Bob Huggins) wants on the court. He trusts me with the ball. I do a good job managing the game, especially in late-game situations, making sure we get the best shot possible and taking care of the ball,” Staten said.

“We have to learn to put a team away when we get them down. That’s our biggest problem.”

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

1
Text Only
WVU Sports
  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • 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.

    April 16, 2014

  • Gyorko, Padres agree to extension

    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.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved

    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.

    April 15, 2014

  • WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI

    There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.

    April 15, 2014

  • FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.

    April 15, 2014

  • HERTZEL COLUMN- Garrison still proving he can carry the ball

    The running back raves from the West Virginia coaching this spring have been directly mostly toward Wendell Smallwood, and rest assured he earned every one of them with his versatility, but it was a reborn running back who well may have taken the biggest jump up the depth chart.

    April 14, 2014

  • WVU baseball drops seventh straight game

    One’s athletic skills are tested on a daily basis but every so often other aspects of an athlete’s makeup are tested, often far more important aspects in the game of life.

    April 14, 2014

  • Gold-Blue Game answers few questions at quarterback

    Dana Holgorsen finds himself in a quarterback quandary.
    He’s looking to have one quarterback and has five of them as spring practice ends, and nothing about the spring session has done anything to straighten out the situation.

    April 13, 2014

  • Moore ‘back at home’ under center

    There are a couple of ways to look at what Logan Moore did this spring after being moved back to quarterback and given a chance to compete for what is a wide open job, as wide open at the end of the spring as it was coming in.
    The first is to say that he didn’t wow Dana Holgorsen to the point that he’s willing to say he’s the leader going into summer drills, but that would be shortsighted considering from where Moore came.

    April 13, 2014

Featured Ads
WVU Sports Highlights
NDN Sports
House Ads
NCAA Breaking News
NCAA Photos