Murray, Staten Lead New WVU Cheering Section - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Murray, Staten Lead New WVU Cheering Section

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CHARLESTON -

It seems a new cheering section is establishing itself for the WVU basketball team. It resides right there on the Mountaineers' bench.

Aaric Murray and Juwan Staten are doing all they can to help West Virginia even in a year that requires them to miss out on any game action.

The two transfers are becoming more and more vocal from their front row seats, chiming in throughout the game with a word of advice or encouragement for those in gold and blue and some heckling for anyone else.

"They talk to me, they say all types of crazy stuff and it just like loosens me up and not takes away my focus but kind of just relaxes me and know that the game isn't that serious and just play," says WVU senior forward Kevin Jones. "Those two cheering on the bench is the funniest thing ever and I'm glad that they're there."

During Wednesday's Capital Classic, Murray was starting chants with the hope that his teammates would join in and was throwing a few interesting insults toward the Herd.

At one point, after Damier Pitts missed a shot, Murray came up with something about armpits in an effort to get in the Marshall guard's head.

Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but it's something the other Mountaineers have noticed and are feeding off of.

"I like that. I really like that," says Kevin Noreen. "He's been doing that in practice more lately, too. When we're down in practice, when we're a little sluggish, he'll amp us up and start jumping on the sidelines, doing something crazy. It lightens the mood and helps pick us up."

You have to put yourself in Murray's and Staten's shoes and understand the decision they made to transfer to West Virginia and forfeit a season of meaningful involvement in a basketball game.

After the win Wednesday, Staten said something to the effect of he has no choice but to embrace this role as the support on game days in addition to the work he's able to contribute in practice.

Murray currently has a broken hand and can't give much physically at all, so perhaps that's why his voice can be heard louder than Staten's. If this is his biggest contribution to the team, at least it's something.

"I'd be fine with that. He does a good job," says Noreen.

Along with all the photographers who were in range of Murray's words, one of the game officials heard them too and basically said to knock it off.

The next trip down the court, Murray went out of his way to say things like, "Let's go Mountaineers," rather than anything negative toward the opposition.

His teammates find it funny and the coaches appreciate having a support system on the bench.

"I do notice that Juwan talks a lot with Jabarie and Gary during the timeouts when they come out of the game," says associate head coach Larry Harrison. "They're really into it. For them to travel here and support the team shows that they're really into the team and trying to do everything they can to help us win."

Their numbers are growing, too. Against Marshall, Deniz Kilicli joined the mix and freshman Pat Forsythe has been coming along ever since he's been relegated to the bench.

None of these players want to be in this position, but they're doing all they can once the ball is tipped to make their presence known and have a positive impact on the game.

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