Staten Chases NBA Dreams into Senior Season at WVU - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Staten Chases NBA Dreams into Senior Season at WVU

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WVU fans celebrate with Staten after the team's win over Kansas. WVU fans celebrate with Staten after the team's win over Kansas.
MORGANTOWN -

The decision that had Mountaineer Nation holding its breath when West Virginia's basketball season came to close was never really all that difficult for the person making it.

Juwan Staten joined the WVU Coaches Show this week to discuss the process that he underwent following the season-ending loss to Georgetown and how he came to the conclusion that a return to WVU was best for his future.

"I went home and sat down, talked to my parents, we weighed out the pros and the cons and I just had it in the back of my mind the whole time that I needed another year of college," Staten said.

The rising senior point guard said he did not wait for the NBA to return his evaluation papers before he determined that the thought in the back of his mind was right. He and his family did research on their own and found that the overwhelming majority of the information available to them had Staten projected to go in the second round of the NBA Draft.

"When I dreamed about going to the NBA, it was being a sure first round pick and maybe even a lottery [pick]," Staten said. "Everybody dreams about walking across the stage, holding the hat, the jersey, everything like that. That's what I envisioned and I have another year to get closer to that dream."

If Staten can make the sort of strides this offseason that he did between his sophomore and junior years, that dream could inch closer to a reality.

In his first year on the court with West Virginia, he averaged 7.6 points and 3.3 assists per game in just less than 28 minutes each outing. Fast-forward one season and his points increased to 18.1, assists to 5.8 and minutes were up to 37 a game. That's not to mention that Staten was the team's second-leading rebounder behind freshman forward Devin Williams.

Many scouts say that Staten is too short (listed at 6-foot-1) and does not have a strong enough outside shot (just six made 3-pointers in two seasons at WVU).

"The biggest knock was my size and that's one thing that's not going to change, but that's something that I continue to prove is not a factor," Staten said.

What he can change is his shooting. He can improve the stroke, sure, but he also has to start looking for his own shots. Staten says he is already in the gym with head coach Bob Huggins and associate head coach Larry Harrison, working on stopping behind screens and in transition to knock down a 3-pointer.

"I feel like the way that I play the game doesn't really allow for me to take a whole lot of threes," he said. "I know that I passed up some just because I pass them up to get a better shot. I always believe in taking the best shot and I know that if I'm not the best 3-point shooter, then it's probably not the best shot for us at the time."

Those six made threes can be a deceiving stat because he only took 15, so he shot them at a 40 percent clip. After the evaluation from the NBA, Staten intends to make a conscious effort to take more outside shots, but only as long as it is the best thing for the team.

The key is to work at it as much as he worked at the aspects of his game that improved in his junior season.

"There are no limits to how good you can be as a basketball player and I just want to get as good as I can," Staten said. "Right now, I still don't feel like I'm as good as I can be and I don't feel like I'll get as good as I can be for years to come. I'm just looking to make any types of improvements that I can."

In May, Staten will graduate from WVU will a degree in Public Relations. That accomplishment will be just as important to his future as anything he does in the gym, but he is hopeful that wrapping up his undergraduate studies will also provide him with more time to get his game where it needs to be.

"Taking school out of the equation gives me a lot more time to prepare for that as well as working on my game and kind of living like a pro without actually being there," he said.

The fact that he won't be there yet is instrumental to what Huggins and the rest of the Mountaineers intend to get done on the court next season. Staten has every intention of experiencing his first NCAA Tournament action before he hangs up his gold and blue jersey. 

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Catch all of Staten's interview and more from all over the WVU sports landscape on this weekend's first episode of The WVU Coaches Show, airing on your local West Virginia Media Station. 

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