The Times West Virginian

WVU Sports

March 9, 2014

Staten plans to test NBA after season

MORGANTOWN — To the surprise of no one, West Virginia University guard Juwan Staten is going to explore his opportunities in the NBA at the end of this season, a season in which he has become perhaps the best player in the Big 12.

“Definitely,” said Staten, when asked if he planned to look into leaving after his junior year for the NBA. “That’s the goal. That would be everybody’s goal if you asked them. That’s my goal and it’s what I expect to explore after the season, just to get feedback.

“I’m going to put my name in and see what kind of feedback I get and take it from there.”

Staten has until mid-April to enter the NBA draft, so there is no rush on his part.

He came into the season with that not exactly a thought on anyone’s mind after a mediocre first season under Bob Huggins after sitting out a season following a transfer from Dayton.

But what a difference a year makes, and he certainly has willed it to happen.

“Before this season I set a couple of goals for myself,” he said. “One of those goals was to be a unanimous all-conference player and the other goal was to win Player of the Year. Every single game of the season that was on my mind. I played with a huge chip on my shoulder because I felt people were underestimating me and I wanted to make a name for myself. I wanted to show people how good I really could be.

“That’s been on my mind all year. It’s something I strived for and something I’m hoping to get.”

If Huggins has his way, he’ll get it.

Huggins isn’t allowed to vote for him for all-conference or Big 12 Player of the Year, but he can vote for him on the coaches’ All-American team.

“I’ll share this with you, I voted for him first team All-America. I think he is the best point guard in the country,” he said. “What he does for us at both ends of the floor. We’re in the best league in America and here is a guy who has been first or second in scoring, he’s led in assists, is first or second in assist to turnover ratio, he’s in the top 15 in rebounding, he’s in the top 5, I think, in field goal percentage.

“There’s not one area you can look at that he’s not among the leaders and you’re talking about a 6-foot point guard who’s among the top rebounders in the conference. What else would you ask him to do.”

Kansas coach Bill Self felt the same way about Staten, saying “he is the best point guard in our league.”

NOTES: With the victory, Huggins earned a $25,000 bonus for beating Kansas, a late addition to his latest contract. … WVU finished the season with a disappointing average attendance of 8,575. … Staten finished the regular season averaging 18.4 points a game, Eron Harris at 17.9 and Terry Henderson at 11.8. … WVU beat three ranked teams this season. … Terry Henderson returned to action after missing four games with a flu-like illness and played 15 minutes, scoring 4 points.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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