Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

Terry Henderson, Eron Harris (middle) and Juwan Staten represented the hope for West Virginia’s backcourt next season. But Staten is considering an NBA future and Harris announced Monday he is transferring.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Sophomore guard Eron Harris plans to transfer from West Virginia after averaging 17.2 points per game this season.

Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins announced the move Monday, saying Harris requested and was granted his release.

“I have enjoyed my time at West Virginia University the past two years, but I want to transfer closer to home,” Harris said in a statement released by the school. “I want to be closer to my family, especially being around my little brother.”

The 6-foot-3 Harris, who’s from Indianapolis, played in all 33 games this season and figured to be a key part of WVU’s returning nucleus next year. He ranked fourth in the Big 12 in scoring and was a conference honorable mention.

“We have enjoyed Eron and his contributions to Mountaineer basketball,” said Huggins. “Of all people, I certainly know what it is like to be closer to family and friends. That’s why I did it as a student-athlete, then as a coach.”

With junior point guard Juwan Staten (18.1 points) evaluating early entry into the NBA draft, West Virginia could be faced with replacing the Big 12′s highest-scoring backcourt next season.

Harris was an intriguing player for the Mountaineers, an underrated high school prospect who seemed surprised by his own success in a power conference. During a late-season chat before the Big 12 tournament, he discussed the transformation from high school role player to one of WVU’s biggest weapons:

“My freshman year (at Lawrence North High School) I played on the freshman team. My sophomore year I played on the JV and I got moved up to varsity for one game. I wasn’t too confident, but I was trying to find my way. I was trying to find what my game was, how athletic I was, what was my niche specialty. Everybody else was getting ranked, everybody else was getting recruited, but I really wasn’t.

“I have never been that guy. And now that there’s a suggestion that I am the guy or that I could be one of the guys, it’s crazy for me mentally.”

Harris was prone to these long, reflective ruminations, especially after trying to cope with poor performances, and it revealed a lot about a player who didn’t want to viewed solely as a jock:

“Basketball is a sport. I’m not going to have basketball forever. This is for fun. Some people take it more seriously than they should, probably because they have nothing else to worry about but basketball.

“Sometimes my dad has to remind me that it’s not as big as I make it sometimes. When you don’t succeed all the time—when you get down on yourself, and you think that the world’s over and I’m not a good basketball player and I’m not getting as much hype as this other guy, my team isn’t winning—I’m not worth anything. Sometimes you think that.

“It’s about learning how to live life. That’s why I’m here in Morgantown, W.Va., of all places.”

Harris wasn’t riffing on West Virginia with that last comment, but rather commenting on how Mountaineers coaches offered him at a point when only mid-major programs around the Midwest were interested.

Now, following his breakout season against Big 12 competition, Harris certainly has more options as he seeks his next college destination.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR NEXT SEASON
Is there a gunner on next year’s team who can match Harris’ 42-percent 3-point shooting (third-best in the Big 12)? Yes, and his name is Terry Henderson, who just happened to be Harris’ roommate and a fellow member of the 2013 signing class.

Presuming Staten returns as a senior (a 50-50 prospect), Huggins could play Henderson at the two guard, with Jonathan Holton at the three spot and Devin Williams and Elijah Macon at the four and five.

Losing Harris, however, costs Huggins a big dose of continuity, which can be an overvalued commodity at times—Iowa State’s status as “Transfer U” doesn’t seem to be suffering much. Though after hearing Huggins harp on his newcomers’ inability to make proper defensive rotations and properly align in offensive sets, continuity seems rather consequential in this case.

Harris’ exit also costs Huggins the flexibility to run a high-powered, experienced three-guard lineup. Plugging in a freshman like Jevon Carter or Daxter Miles won’t immediately concern defenses to the same extent.

Of course, losing Harris means gaining a scholarship. His decision to leave so soon after the season affords WVU time to dive into college basketball’s unofficial free-agency period and seek a graduate transfer who could impact next year’s team, or the more conventional undergrad who would be eligible in 2015-16.

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Comments

  • Buckets

    Here it is teamsters:
    2012 Departures - Pat Forsythe, Tommie McCune, Paul Williamson and don't forget Elijah Macon
    2013 Departures - Aaron Brown, Gerun Volodymyr, Aric Dickerson, Jabarie Hinds, Keaton Miles, Aaic Murray
    2014 Departures - Eron Harris

    Can anoyone tell me what each of these players have in common other than leaving the program..............ok enough guessing, it's HUGGINS and his staff of old time lemon aid coaches.

  • Leroy

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  • squad

    everyone is so broken up over a guy wanting to be back home. he is a fantastic shooter but he is mentally and physically soft and is a poor defender. if he was a hockey player he would definitely finish 2014 as a negative number.
    what that means is that although he was a prolific scorer, he gave up even more...and he was inconsistent and was easily shut down

    it is likely we would have played him despite having to hide him on d.

    this happens.it is college. best of luck to the young man. he bailed us out several games this year points-wise and got burned just as often.

    we will be ok.

    all you Huggins haters wont have to worry too much longer I suspect- then we will see how easy it is to get top level talent here. cause that's where its always been, right?
    I went to school here in the early 80s and we were middling in the A10.
    everyone here both in football and basketball with your fake outrage -let me tell you-it amounts to nothing because you don't have the alabama, ohio state michigan florida texas or oklahoma tradition here at WVU.

    we are a small state's flagship school that worked hard to land a big east bid and now have gone from playing st bonnies and umass to the Big 12 conference.

    you can demand and beat your chest and fire your gun and go whatever you'd like, but your
    high brow expectations just make you look like a fool year after year.

    you are the equivalent of the providence alumni who think pitino is coming back (btw cooley did a hell of job there this year).


    STEP ONE: be thankful and happy for who you are and what you have...and go from there please.

  • Tom

    WVU hasn't been a good basketball program outside of the past 10 years. Before John Beilein, we made the NCAA tourney once in about 20 years. Huggins came in and made the tourney 5 straight times with a final 4 appearance. Say what you want about it being Beileins players, they won the Big East Tourney and navigated to the final 4. That takes a hell of a coaching job. Eron Harris is a good player and he was fun to watch, but the name on the front of the jersey is what matters. Huggins is old school and his style of coaching doesn't work with kids these days. But he is the prodigal son of WV and who else is going to come in and be loyal to WVU as a head coach with the same pedigree of Huggs? Its hard to see him freak out constantly and berate the kids, but he is instilling hardwork and discipline in them in the only way he knows how. Also, todays kids are such wussies, no one can take a punch without crying. Time to stop wussifying these kids. I wish Harris the best of luck, and I believe he wants to be closer to home, having huggins yank you every day for missing an assignment probably wore thin on him. as he indicated, he really doesn't care about basketball that much to be away from family and get yelled at everyday.

  • Rimfire

    ITS GOOD TO SEE THAT THEIR IS NO QUITERS ON THE LADIES TEAM. THEY STAY WITH IT AND ONLY GET BETTER.

  • Troll

    203 wasted post. Who to blame, blame this one, blame that one, blah, blah, blah. It's simple, there is no blame. A young man wants to play closer to home, nothing more nothing less.

  • wvufaninpa

    Wow. Over 200 comments on this article.
    Anyway, lets face, we can discuss this till the cows come home and the only way things will change is if Huggins changes his approach to his players. And guess what? That ain't happenin.
    So keep talkin, but Huggs and Ollie ain't listening.
    So sad, but true.
    The program's a mess and it ain't getting better anytime soon.

  • Mister Man

    He is a fine young man with good character. Good luck to you, and your family, Eron.

  • Aaron

    http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/eye-on-college-basketball/22007798/transfer-list-first-edition

    A very interesting list. Apparently transferring is not synonymous to WVU.

  • SYD

    THERE COMES A POINT IN LIFE WHEN YOU HAVE TO GROW UP AND BECOME A MAN. HARRIS IS A LONG WAY FROM THAT POINT.

    • Shadow

      That is quite an assumption. He said he wanted to be around his younger brother. Helping a sibling grow up doesn't seem like a childish idea, it sounds to me a person who acknowledges his responsibilities to his family which is an adult theme.

  • TW EAGLE

    the ncaa keeps track of the graduation rates at colleges . . . if jt falls below a certain point , the sport program gets scholarships reduced , and possibly shut down . . . I'd think that the revolving door that Huggins has turned the BB program into will eventually cost him (and WVU) a number of scholarships . . . what does the APR stand for anyway . . . ? . . .

    • Aaron

      The latest NCAA count has WVU basketball at 100% graduation rate.

  • mad hatter

    seriously, wvu bb fans,,, considering his record over the past three yrs.. huggs needs a pay raise. Too bad that thousands of west virginians are struggling to feed and clothe their families, because hussein killed their jobs,
    but huggs is earning every single penny at wvu thru his contributions to the athletic program in the way of wins, and selling tickets to the games.
    and bty , he got 25 grand for beating kansas. LOL... and he said he'd only get about 11 thousand.. .taxes,,, lots of people in wv don't make 25 grand yr. and huggs makes that for one game,,, plus his ten grand per week.

    does anyone think our society is out of wack..
    I mean school teachers in wv probably don't average 40 grand yr, and huggs makes that in four days,,,yes SPORTS FANS, 4 DAYS
    i am a total capitalist, but this is maddening, a man makes that kind of money and is 49-49 over the last 3 yrs... it's not maddening, it's insane.

  • mad hatter

    with Harris's departure, this presents a huge chance for Huggins to search for another non qualifier with either academic , or legal baggage.And hopefully , he can find one that won't play next yr... standard MO.

  • Capt. Obvious

    Eron's leaving is a symptom, not the problem. There are 10 others who have left the program in the past 3 years while 5 have stayed. Wrap you gray matter around that one.

    Huggs has not recruited or retained players at a level that is acceptable for his experience or compensation.

    However, it will cost as much as $30MM to get rid of him so you kick the can down the road and fire the recruiting coordinator but the worst is yet to come folks.

    • Aaron

      I concur, I say again I concur that Huggins and WVU has not been good job of retaining players.

      However, in regards to recruiting, the experts and the rating services do not concur with your assessment.

      In fact, when Harris was recruited many were asking why Huggins was settling for low level two star recruits.

      I specifically recall Larry Jefferson saying that West Virginia was better than than recruiting some 2-star recruit out of Indiana they couldn't do anything but shoot. And his close pal Mary said "we just got rid of one kid that can only shoot the ball, why are we picking up another one."

      So how do you guess Huggins goes about keeping kids. Should he give them playing time they don't deserve it, stop raising his voice in any manner or start paying him better like Duke, Gonzaga and Florida does some as some madman said last week?

    • mad hatter

      Like your name,,,, and i agree and anyone with an open mind and not related to huggie would have to agree.

  • Frank/Moundsville

    Huggins is way overpaid for what he produces. These athletic coaching salaries are pure insanity. I used to attend 2/3 football and 4/5 basketball games at WVU each season................NO MORE!
    I refuse to be part of this overpriced nonsense. Nobody even remembers the records from season to season.

    Huggs and Halgs must go!