Juwan Staten Named First-Team All-Big 12 - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Juwan Staten Named First-Team All-Big 12

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Juwan Staten has been named first team All-Big 12 for his accomplishments with the West Virginia University men's basketball team.

The junior point guard also earned recognition on the All-Conference Defensive Team.

Staten lost out on the top honor for Player of the Year to Iowa State's Melvin Ejim when the conference announced its annual awards Sunday, just a day after WVU wrapped up the regular season with a 92-86 win over No. 8 Kansas at the Coliseum.

When the season came to a close Saturday evening, Staten stood at or near the top of many statistical categories.

He had claimed the No. 1 position in scoring (18.4) and in assists (5.94) per game, the two stats that have meant the most to what has been such a turn around from the dismal offense performances West Virginia strung together a year ago.

Staten has put up his scoring numbers while putting up the fifth-best field goal percentage and his assist-to-turnover ratio is second in the league.

Additionally, Staten, listed at just 6-foot-1, was in the top 20 for rebounding. In fact, he averaged the same total as Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins, who took home Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors. On three occasions, Staten had double-double performances with points and rebounds.

"What else would you ask him to do?" Huggins asked the media following Saturday's win.

Staten asked plenty of himself prior to the start of the season. After the disappointment that he experienced both individually and with the Mountaineers as a whole a year ago, the junior point guard set goals for himself in the offseason.

These weren't easily attainable goals, either.

"Before the season, I told myself that I wanted to be a unanimous decision for first team all-conference and I told myself I wanted to be player of the year," Staten said after taking down Kansas. "I felt like I had the ability to do it, I felt like I had the teammates that would help me do it and the coaching staff and the system, so it was just up to me to put that work in and give myself a chance."

Saying that now, after being named to the All-Conference team and turning himself into a top candidate for Player of the Year, sounds reasonable. But before the season? When he averaged less than six points in conference play? When WVU replaced so much of a roster that lacked what it took to succeed in the Big 12? 

That's bold.

"It's been something that's been realistic to me since I started playing basketball," said Staten. "I have belief in myself. I've always been able to find success at the level that I'm playing at. Some people just get there faster than others. That doesn't mean that I wasn't going to get there, it just took me a little while. But I figured it out and I never had any doubt in my mind."

Staten says his father is a motivational speaker and when the two sat down together before the start of the season, he told his son that he needed to make those goals if he was going to achieve them. He set the bar high, and Staten rose to it.

"I feel like I work just as hard, if not harder, than anybody out there," he said. "I try to be the hardest worker, I try to prepare myself for situations, I have goals and I work toward those goals. I'm persistent at my goal in hand."

Clearly the persistence and hard work paid off. Huggins may be biased as he gets to enjoy what Staten brings to the court every day, whether in practice or in a game, but he is quite confident that the point guard he puts in his starting lineup each week is the best available.

Head coaches are not allowed to vote for their own players, but that did not stop Huggins from putting Staten on a different ballot.

"I'll share this with you," said Huggins, "I voted for him first team All-America. I think he's the best point guard in the country."

Staten joined Ejim, Wiggins, Iowa State's DeAndre Kane and Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart on the first team. Ejim and Wiggins were unanimous selections. 

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