Staten's Leadership Extends Beyond the Court for WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Staten's Leadership Extends Beyond the Court for WVU

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MORGANTOWN -

His impact on the court is evident. Even in a game like that against Marshall, when Staten struggled for the better part of the game, he showed how far he has come in a year.

Despite four turnovers, and just two assists in the first half, Staten continued to push for his team to climb back and take a lead and that is precisely what he did with 3:41 remaining.

Trailing by two, Staten drove to the basket as he has done so well this season and connected on a layup while getting fouled. Tie ball game. After the free throw, it was a one-point lead.

The Mountaineers never looked back and with six points down the stretch, Staten was a major catalyst in getting the 10-point victory.

"That's a player's dream," said Staten. "To be in a tough game, playing against another tough player and have the team on your back, you can't really ask for more than that. My teammates trusted me, my coaches trusted me to put the ball in my hands and to get the job done and that's what I wanted to go out there and do."

What you may not see are the things Staten has done off of the court that have helped this team as much as the measurable impact he's had on it.

"What you see on the floor is probably more magnified off the floor," said head coach Bob Huggins. "He's had the guys over to his house watching film, he really has done a great job of trying to lead the young guys. I think everybody looks to him. He's been great."

For a team that is coming off of such a disappointing season and looking for everyone to step up to turn things around, Staten has been the prime example of what to do and which direction to go.

The result is a team that junior forward Kevin Noreen feels is as close and as motivated as any he has been a part of since he first came to West Virginia just a year removed from the program's Final Four run.

"It's been completely different. We've got a true leader this year in Juwan," said Noreen. "He's taking control of the team. We're doing the little things now. We're going to his house to watch scouts, prepare for our next opponents. We've never done that in the past. We're having team meetings, just ourselves, no coaches."

There is a trickle-down effect from the way the point guard carries himself and the way he approaches his daily routine.

Huggins recalls a time over a decade ago when former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian came to Cincinnati to watch practice. His message to Huggins – and to the team – was that they would have a very successful season because Kenyon Martin was not only their best player and one of the best in the country, but he was also their hardest worker.

"When your best player… is your hardest working guy, everybody else has to follow," Tarkanian told Huggins and the Bearcats.

"You struggle when your best guy is not your hardest working guy, because they have the tendency to follow him," said Huggins. "I think Wanny doing what he's done and working the way he's worked has really helped us."

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