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

  • Guardian

    Interesting. I think we'd be best advised to stay silent for awhile. Eventually, more will come out on this.

    But I'll take one stab at the reason - beyond the stated reason for wanting to be closer to home and family - and it is simple . . . he can't play defense.

    When Harris was called on to defend against better teams, his offense suffered and he appeared to be visibly nervous in those types of games.

    • wvrefugee

      Heck no! Stay silent and allow Huggins to run off more kids he recruited???? Idiot comment! This is a great kid and good player we need to be competitive! I am embarrassed to be a Mountaineer! This AD has to go along with the terrible coaches he has allowed to do as they please! Huggins needs to retire and move on. Holgerson needs to just move on!

    • William

      ONLY WAY TO FIX THE PROBLEM -
      Get rid of the problem - FIRE "Sweatsuit" Huggins
      UNBELIEVABLE - That "Sweatsuit" Huggins doesn't get FIRED!
      How bad does it need to get?
      This coach gets a outrageous salary of $70,000.00 a week for a part time job.
      It's a sad time to be a Mountaineer fan, wherever you may be!
      As long as Huggins is head coach, I hope they lose every game!
      And yes,
      I'M LOVIN' IT

      • Guardian

        William, you are the embarrassment.

      • Alum

        Too bad MetroNews won't fire you by banning you from posting.

      • Bob

        William,you sir are a deluxe dork..

    • PC

      Right on Guardian, this isn't going to finish off next years squad. Harris's floor game was poor and we can make up his points. Staten leaving would be another story.

      • graywv

        Your right, his defense was really a problem for the last two years, and you could just see Huggs getting in his stuff, and itwas bothering him, plus he could not handle the ball on the move, he was just not able to make any moves to get open for a decent shot when guarded-that was a big problem, and he seemed to get down on himself when things weren't going right-boy! HE COULD SHOOT THE BALL WHEN OPEN! I wish him all the best, and hope he finds it-what ever "it" is for him!

  • Rob

    Is the kid from Baltimore a 1 or 2 guard?And will he make it here?

    • packyeers

      Combo Guard with Hops.

  • Steve

    "I would like to thank WV for giving me a chance to grow my talent, and now that I have I will leave." Thanks Harris!

    • Aaron

      When he came into the program, he was a 2 star recruit with interest from Ball State, Evansville, Illinois State with his only other offer from Dayton.

      I'm sure he will get more interest from Indiana, Purdue, Indiana State and Notre Dame now than he did in 2011.

      Could that be part of his decision making process?

  • SnoJO

    Lately it seems every basketball season WVU starts another rebuilding campaign.

    2012-13 was a total bust.
    2013-14 was a learning year with promises ahead.
    2014-15 Who knows???

  • Big Larry

    I believe this will definitely affect Staten's decision to leave or stay...

    But not to worry...Huggs will "fix it"...

    After all, Doesn't Huggs always "fix it" ?

    • Jay

      Huggs fix what?
      Seems like he doesn't get it.
      How about some young assistants to relate to young talent.

      • gv

        That is a great idea Jay, the only one that currently sets an example is the Larry Harrison.

    • mad hatter

      great comment big larry, anyone with any sense knows what ur saying.

      • Aaron

        I'm sorry, Larry said that Hatter. It's so easy to confuse you too. Please except my sincerest apologies.

        • mad hatter

          that's ok mrs huggins

          • Aaron

            How did I go from being his daughter last week to his wife this week?

      • Aaron

        Hatter said this would play a role in Staten leaving Larry. Given the numerous times Staten has discussed WVU's lack of defense (isn't that throwing them under the bus) I wonder will this really actually be reason for Staten to leave as well?

    • Aaron

      Why?

      • William

        Because " Sweatsuit Huggins is one of the worst coaches in WVU history!
        He has been a EMBARRASSMENT to the fans & The State of WV>
        He should have been FIRED last year for what he said to the referee
        Huggins is the problem, not the players.
        Only way to fix this big problem is to FIRE Huggins ASAP!

        • shawn108

          Is this William dude serious?!?!? Fire Huggins. He has been coaching for 33 years and has had 2 losing seasons. He sent multiple players to nba. (remember the lotttery pick Alexander was going to be before huggins) He has a winning percentage in the 70's. He obviously doesnt know how to coach. He just needs to find some players with Heart, Pride, The Will to win. Good Luck Coach. Find some players that can be coached hard and not want to quit. Good Luck to Mr. Harris in his travels. Nathan Adrian can play defense

          • wvrefugee

            I am and I'm not William!! Talked with Eron today in the Lair and he said he was glad to have a positive comment after the grief he has taken from the coaching staff this season!

        • Barry

          What did Huggins say to the referee? I had not heard.

          • Tom

            William puts this out there all of the time. However, he never elaborates on "what he said to the referee last year." It sounds like an "urban legend" to me.

        • Bob

          Still a dork.

        • Aaron

          If it's all the same, I'd prefer a logical poster respond.

          • J-mo

            I agree with Aaron. Can a real poster please respond and let William have the evening off from making an idiot of him self. And big Larry you can go mix in a salad too.

  • Lee

    Why do some of you take things like this personal ? He's doing what is best for himself , he's allowed you know.

    • Robin

      I agree Lee. Seems we have a lot of people who are, through the distance of the universe, able to tell what a young college student is thinking.

      Damn shame they could not have been useful and found that 777 jet.

  • Big Larry

    "And so it begins..."

  • FNP

    If you want to "play for fun" then you need to go to JC. We need a kid who wants to get better and can take it seriously. Good luck man

  • Rob

    WOW is right .How many kids have left in the last few years,and more over this can't be the norm.

    • BuckeyeMountaineer

      Yep. Huggs has turned over too many players. And while it pains me to say he should go. But realistically I don't see that happening.

  • Another run off

    Well please get a white kid no defense is needed that will drain 3 s consistently is all we need. You know the goofy white kid that beats us every-game that we never guard because he is well goofy looking. Just get that and it's an equal trade off or better. Harris would score 31 against a bad team and 7 against a good so a trade off for 15 solid every game is all we need and keep staten at all cost. Bring out the check book ala duke, Kansas and ky to keep him one more year

    • J the C

      pretty shallow.

    • Whip

      Ah West Virginia showing its true colors. You gotta love it...no embarrassed it by it.
      Racism at is best.

    • jfk

      huh?

      • Beaver Sniffer

        Exactly...what the hell is this boy talking about? Racism idiot is about all I got out of this post. Pull the hole in over you and call it a life wasted.

  • Mister Man

    Wow! If their was anyone, on the team, who I thought bled gold and blue, it was him. I feel like I just got punched in the gut. In my 26 years in the Navy I was away from my family a lot. So, I know how you feel. Good luck to you and yours Mr. Harris. And, goodbye.

  • Dave

    I just don't get it. Seems like there has to be more to it than I miss my little brother. But for whatever reason though, good luck Eron wherever you go play ball next year. You'll be missed at WVU. Great guy with a good attitude and a terrific shooter.

  • JS

    Looks like Huggs did it again!

    • steve

      How is it his fault? The kid is homesick-it happens

      • Jay

        No this happens every year.
        You can't keep making excuses for why players keep leaving.
        Remember he recruited them ALL!

        • Concerned

          Actually it happens all the time at virtually every school. Transferring is the thing these days all across the country.

      • jfk

        what else is the common denominator with all of these kids either not geting on the floor after signing or leaving our b-ball program?!!!!!

  • clark manning

    What a shock and a blow to next years team. Must be more to it than is written in the press release. Hard to figure. Oh well, best of luck to Eron in his new gig.

  • Jay

    Wow! This hurts.

    Best wishes to you and yours, Mr. Harris. Thanks for the Mountaineer memories.