Juwan Staten Waiting for Chance to Contribute at WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Juwan Staten Waiting for Chance to Contribute at WVU


Juwan Staten knew when he made the decision to leave Dayton after one season and venture off to Morgantown that he would have to get used to a seat on the bench.

He was well aware that for an entire year, his view of competitive basketball outside of practice would be on the sideline. But being aware of that fact did not prepare him for actually experiencing it.

Staten joined some of his new Mountaineers teammates in summer league games and was able to run out on the famed carpet to greet fans at Mountaineer Madness to kick off the season. When the team suited up for an exhibition game against Northern Kentucky, though, he got his first taste of exactly what the NCAA's transfer regulations would mean for him in year one of WVU basketball.

"That first game was rough," Staten said in an interview for The Bob Huggins Show. "Just watching them prepare for the game, walking into the locker room, seeing everyone's jersey hanging up except for mine and Aaric's [Murray, a La Salle transfer], it was rough. After about game six or seven, I kind of got used to it and just began to get more vocal on the bench."

He had little choice. If Staten would make an impact for West Virginia, it would be each day in practice and then from his seat at the far end of the team bench in games. Becoming vocal was done out of necessity, but it ultimately proved to be positive both for the team as well as him personally.

"Sometimes the guys are looking at me and asking certain things about the game, I just embraced the role and tried to be the best cheerleader I could be. I tried to outdo the cheerleaders," he says. "I just wanted them to know that I was there for them and that I had their back."

No competitor likes the sound of getting mental reps, but he was able to view the game from a perspective that he hadn't gotten many minutes of since he first picked up a basketball.

With two freshman guards eager to learn and thrust into significant action from day one, Staten became a teacher. His one year of collegiate experience with the Flyers gave his advice credibility and the coaching staff welcomed his pointers as extra assistance.

With senior Truck Bryant's departure, Staten will be counted on to translate his teaching to an on-court variety while continuing to mentor Jabarie Hinds and Gary Browne, two players he feels will made real strides over the coming months.

"That's really where I made my large gains, was between the offseason," says Staten. "Over the offseason, I was able to work on things that I knew would happen in the game, so I think that's what will happen with them and they'll have a better season next season."

Of course, he expects that he will contribute and help the team progress even with the losses of both Bryant and Kevin Jones.

"I bring speed to the game, I'm able to score if I need to, pass if I need to, just be an all-around player and do whatever I need to do to help my team win," he says.

It had to eat at him in those close finishes, watching helplessly as the team failed to come away with a win for various reasons. He points to inexperience and to the inability to play hard for all 40 minutes.

Just as guilty in many games was the lack of scoring and the excruciating shooting woes that plagued the Mountaineers often, even in victory.

Staten can make electrifying plays with the ball in his hands and likes to dribble drive before either kicking it out to an open teammate or finishing to the glass on his own, but he also hopes to add a spark with his jumper.

"This season, sitting out, I just worked on shooting," says Staten. "That's been a big thing with me and the coaches is just shooting, shooting, shooting – getting a lot of repetition and just making sure I'm shooting the ball the right way. I would say that I've definitely improved a lot in that area and that's something that I'll be adding to my game next season."

He came to WVU for many reasons. He wanted better competition, a bigger school, a tough coach and a system that played to his strengths. He believes he has found exactly what he set out for when he signed with the Mountaineers and knowing that he will finally get a chance to prove the good fit in a few months' time has him brimming with excitement.

"I don't even think words can explain how excited I am," Staten says with a smile. "We always laugh and joke about dances or anything I'm going to do after I score my first basket, but I really don't know. I'm so excited, I just can't wait. I know it's still a long way from now, but I'm just excited."

The next time the Mountaineers play a game that actually counts, Staten will be there, shedding his warm-ups to reveal a jersey that has been collecting dust.

Just a few more months.

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