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

  • Ken Turner

    Very disappointing to say the least.

  • WVcoal

    Harris has to do what is right for Harris, period. I wish him the best where ever he lands. I don't think this hurts WVU one bit. Harris could shoot the ball and that was about it. WVU have other shooters just as good as Harris, maybe better. Harris's departure merely provides more opportunities for others to score the basketball and give WVU a chance to play better team defense.

    • mad hatter

      yep , we have a ton of scorers, that's for sure,, even the walk ons can score 17 ppg.
      If fact , we're a better team without him,, dibo will fill the bill , he's a hof player for wvu.
      like your guys' attitude about this transfer, in that it only makes room for someone else,, I wish staten and henderson would leave to make even more room

      • WVcoal

        The "mad" part of your screen name is certainly fitting for you. Only you know what you are "mad" about -- something in your personal life is not right though, that is easy to see. We see folks like you all the time where I work and we try to help them through their personal problems so that they can lead a more productive life and not a bitter one, like the one you are leading. Check yourself "mad" and get some help before it is too late. Have a happy day.

        • mad hatter

          the difference between you and me , is vast , however, everyday is a great day in my life, for i accept life as it is delivered to me, and realize that reality is the bottom denominator, and we must understand, and adapt with a change is presented.
          The reality of this situation, is , that we have no one to fill harris's shoes,especially not dibo , that some have mentioned.
          Now the reality also exists that we have a huge problem without the athletic dept and huggins sets right in the middle of it.
          And to some posters who say this isn't a bad loss of Harris, just who do you think will step in and fill the 17 ppg . If you say Henderson, then who will take his place.. either way, we are not better off losing harris,,, get real,, understand reality.

          • Aaron

            Well heck hater, that's easy.

            Henderson averaged 11.7 points per game last year and will benefit from being the heir apparent at SG where he will provide more consistency and defense. As such, he should easily up his average to 15 points per game. There's 3 of the 17.

            Devin Williams will improve as well and can easily add 3 point to his average. There's 6 of the 17.

            The likely replacement in the lineup is Jonathan Holton, who averaged 10 points as a FR at RI, before improving to 19,5 ponts per game while shooting 35% on 3's. At 6-7, he will play the SF and should easily average 12 points per game.

            There's your points and it doesn't even take into consideration improvements from Staten, Adrian, Watkins, Macon, Brown or the 2 freshmen.

            Given his defensive weakness, an argument could be made that Harris would have likely seen a decline in minutes played and points averaged on next years team.

            Anything else scooter?

  • Jason

    It's time for Huggins to go hes a loser and a money hog doing nothing for wvu.

    • J the C

      You obviously don't know basketball.

    • WVcoal

      There is no quality basketball coach available that loves WVU and loves the State of West Virginia more than Huggins. We should celebrate how far WVU has come in basketball since the A-10, Gale Catlett days. If Huggins were to leave, I just don't think the grass would be greener.

      • wvrefugee

        At least there would be grass!

      • wvrefugee

        I don't care if they love WVU, I care if they love to WIN.....period!!! That's Luck has us paying for now days!! If that were the case, some idiot from Logan or something!

      • Rich

        I agree 100% WVCoal. Huggs loves this state and he's not leaving us. For that (and 700+ wins) I feel he has earned the right to decide when he leaves. But here's the problem (as I see it) the landscape of college basketball has changed. In this day and age of one and dones and great players not staying 3-4 years an established coach (and recruiter) like Huggs should not be struggling the way we have the last 2.5 years. A Final Four run in 2010 should have provided us a ton of momentum yet we are spiraling downward. Huggs has won a lot of games yet he may have to change his style if he wants this program to get up off the mat.

        • mad hatter

          i can find 200 coaches ,who, if we pay them 3 mil. per yr, will tell us how much they love wv, and wvu,and will win half of their games.

          • Aaron

            Who are they?

        • mad hatter

          even if we are one game over .500 over the last three yrs. , i love huggs i love mediocrity, i love paying him 3 mil per yr. i love his retention. i love his beer belly.

          • WVcoal

            Welcome aboard the team bus, hatter. I knew you would finally come around to loving WVU and its basketball program. WVU is just like Christianity -- once you admit your sins and repent you are welcomed into the fold. AMEN!

  • CharlestonRoundball

    Harris most likely is leaving because he wants to play for a coach that will let him TRY to be Michael Jordan, play bad defense and make as many turnovers as he wants. Or he and Staten don't get along, and one of them had to go.

    • packyeers

      At one point his year Harris went off and could not miss in the first half and after the game he said the team did not try to get him the ball the second half. I think Staten is staying and Harris knows it. This will be Wannie's team next year for sure if he does comes back.

    • Aaron

      Michael Jordan, bad defense?

      Dude, are you serious?

      • CharlestonRoundball

        You're running two unintended descriptions together. Jordan because Harris thinks he can take it off the dribble and create his own shots, which he can't, thus constantly turning the ball over. Bad defense because, Harris, well, he just doesn't play it.

  • ole sasquatch

    Stunned is the right word ... but we will get over it.

  • TW EAGLE

    WOW double WOW

    apparently Huggins wasn't talking tongue -in- cheek when he said he enjoyed pushing the
    players buttons . . .

    when Henderson sat out 28 days late in the season , Harris said he knew nothing about
    his ROOMMATES ailment(s) . . .

    will there be anymore defections ? how badly
    has Huggins damaged Watkins , the frosh
    with the biggest upside . . .

    is this the new era of WVU basketball ? if the team misses the final four , the coach
    hits the RESET button and brings in new
    players ?

    Harris , one of the really good kids on this WVU team , points to a major problem in
    the BB system . . . DUH , I wonder where
    it could be ?

  • wvufaninpa

    And the downward spiral continues. Just when you think that next year's team could possibly be pretty good, we're in yet again, another rebuilding year.
    I can only assume Mr. Luck is hiding in his cave not knowing what to do. This is discouraging!
    These coaches have never been paid more and we seem to get less every year.
    What a shame!

    • J the C

      You couldn't be more wrong. We won't have to rebuild because of the loss of a headcase.

  • Rich

    Harris' inconsistency and lack of defense hurt us at times but his transfer hurts the program. 17.2 pts per game is not easily replaced. I wonder where he ends up: Butler, IUPUI, Indiana St, Evansville? Hope the incoming guards are eligible and can score

  • Baldeagle

    Maybe there is more to this than we will ever know, but if this keeps up the next few years than maybe OL better step in and find out what is going on with this program…if he hasn't already?
    Eron, best of luck to you young man. I enjoyed watching u play and will miss u!

  • Observant

    Bob Huggins is the most enthusiatic speaker I have ever heard, once he's done with coaching I definitely see him as the next big motivational speaker, so uplifting, engaging, and simply mesmerizing to listen to him talk.

    • Wvuisbest

      Nobody loves West Virginia more than Bobby Huggins. Nobody loves winning more than Bobby Huggins. But there is something more important to Bobby than West Virginia and winning. Until he addresses that we do not have his full attention. This is not a self correcting situation and it gets worse when he is losing. Bobby either fixes Bobby or nothing changes.

    • J the C

      agreed!

    • mad hatter

      well said parrot

      • Observant

        Thanks, but my name's not parrot.

        • mad hatter

          u don't get it do you?

  • eerfan

    Great! Another scholarship opens up. I hope Huggins recruits a good one (who will stay in the program more than two years).

    • Low Rider

      Huggins has recruited 1 player in Kevin Jones that has panned out for 4 years. He either recruits players that he completely misjudges, or the players misjudge him. Either way, something needs fixed.

  • Matt

    Sadly, this program is a dumpster fire and it falls squarely on the shoulders of Bob Huggins.

    What is going to happen when Staten leaves and we have to replace our entire backcourt next year?

    Huggs is 49-49 the last 3 years and paid a top 10 salary

    • J the C

      Matt, thanks for your statistical analysis. Except for Bielein, he's the best bball coach this school has seen in half a century. One of the best in the country. Maybe you should look elsewhere for a mediocre season. Feebs like you are disgusting.

      • mad hatter

        fact, last three seasons, 49-49,,, mediocre at best... if we will accept this, and are willing to pay 3 mil. per yr. for this kind of performance, and results, then i , for one, want a job working for you.

    • Aaron

      49-48

      • Matt

        the last 3 years we have 14, 19, and 16 losses.

        That equals 49

        • mad hatter

          yep , ur right, i took someone elses word on that figure,,, it isn't as good as i thought.. o well, we have the yr after next , and the yr after that, we can pretty much forget next yr.. Henderson is too eratic, he'll crumble under pressure.

        • Aaron

          You are most certainly right. I was going off of what the huggins haters were saying on other stories and didn't add the debacle at Georgetown into the mix.

  • Mike

    Good riddance Harris, you and your head case. EER's will be fine without you. But another transfer sure doesn't look good for the program, or Huggins. I don't know how many it's been that's left in the past 3-4 years. I've lost count.

    • mad hatter

      yep, we have five or six players who will step right in and average 17 ppg, and carry this team on his back,,, like your thinking.

  • jj

    its a big loss but we still have henderson and dibo who can shoot the 3 ball. also, holton and macon will also contribute in the paint and are excellent players.

    it sucks he is leaving but i think our team will still be above average next year (if staten returns)

    • mad hatter

      dibo,,, you have got to be kidding me,,, he's the biggest flunkie on the team,, what a let down after huggs told us how great a 3 pt shooter he was..
      Now if huggs wants to run anyone off, this is a prime candidate.Give his scholarship to someone who might know how to spell defense.

      • Aaron

        How can you say that about your boy Hatter? Save the Baylor fiasco when you remained uncharacteristically silent after a WVU loss, you touted him all year long.

  • Aaron

    My youngest son was a pretty good high school baseball player with very little effort. He weighted several offers from smaller schools and even flirted with WVU. After a camp in which Coach Van Zant wanted me to direct him to Potomac State, he informed me on the way home that he was going to WVU. I said "you probably won't see playing time for a couple of years, you would be better off at Potomac State then trying out at WVU."

    At that point, he told me he didn't want to play college baseball, he wanted to go to school. I applauded him on that decision and he's now an honor roll student close to his degree. Over the years, we've had a few discussions. Without directly saying so, he said that while he enjoyed the sport, he wasn't willing to give up his entire college life to fulfill the requirements needed to be great.

    Others will get on here and bad mouth Coach Huggins for being mean and running off another player and perhaps there is some truth to it. He does appear to be mean and he is demanding by his own admission. Unfortunately, not everyone can live up to the demands and expectations required to compete at that level and that's ok.

    I wish him the best of luck in and hope he finds whatever it is he's looking for.

    • mad hatter

      My youngest son was a pretty good football player in high school and had offers from many small schools, so he considered penn state, florida state, USC, and alabama.
      Well he really didn't want to play college football but i told him he could go dig ditches for awhile, and see if that might change his idea of playing football and gettng a college degree.
      well, you know what, he went to a great university, played fb, graduated magna cum laude, went to work for a great company, and became CEO.
      I expect him to be president of the united states pretty soon.
      But for Harris, you made the right decision, for wvu, well we have four or five guys walk ons that can make up the scoring of Harris... It's really easy to score 17.2 ppg now days, just set back and throw up those 3 pointers..
      Huggs , you're a HOF coach , a great mentor, classy guy with great character, and i hope you get a huge raise for all youv'e done for wvu.
      As opposed to other posters on here, i am not bobby's son or daughter, so i speak reality.

      • Aaron

        And here you said your sons were daughters hatters. I'll give you credit, you did say she was the queen of magnum cum laude down at MU but you didn't say she played football, you said she...

        Well, inappropriate but we know what you said. So where's she working now?

        • Aaron

          Ok. So do you want us to call you Mrs. Hatter, Mrs. Huggins, or Mrs. B?

          Yeah, it stands for Bob.

          Honest

        • mad hatter

          well, he turned out to be so great in baseball also , and with little effort i may add, but i said ok, don't play ball, it's ok with me.
          well he went to college and he is now on the honor roll and close to a degree,
          now some of you will get on here and badmouth my husband , bobby, for his poor record over the last three yrs. however , if you'll look at his record at cinn. by gum he did ok, and i think you should hold your tongue just a bit, and i love my husband ,and it makes him drink more when you talk badly about him..
          signed, Mrs Huggins

    • Barry

      I am so happy to see you admit that Huggins attitude is at least, possibly, maybe part of the problem. And, I hope Harris the best of luck too. There is more to life than sports.

      • Aaron

        I don't know that it's part of the problem. I said he appears to be mean. That's a perception that I know is not true.

        What I do know is that some kids simply cannot handle that kind of coaching. So what do you do with those players, coddle him?

        You say he's part of the problem though. Tell me, were you in Coach Huggins place and you had a kid that wasn't doing what you instructed him to do, how would you handle it? What would you do?

        • Barry

          I can tell you what I wouldn't do. I wouldn't cuss and scream at him in front of thousands of fans, I wouldn't throw him under the bus after a loss. I wouldn't yank him out of the game and leave him on the bench for making one little mistake.

          • Charleston

            Barry: I apologize. That was directed toward Allan Taylor.

          • Aaron

            Oh the shame, I do not live up to Mike's (another new poster) standards. Whatever shall I do.

            Um, Mike, as I'm, uh, all broke up, uh, about not have your, um, approval, perhaps maybe you could uh, tell me what reason I'm failing to um, understand.

          • Barry

            Mike,

            Thanks, I think I will take your advice.

          • Mike

            Barry, there is no point in carrying on a conversation with Aaron. He blindly and ignorantly defends Huggins at every turn and understands no reason.

          • Barry

            I would verture to say I do, and I would venture to say he does. He is like watching Eeore. And, just because other overpaid babies act without class doesn't give him the right to.

          • Aaron

            If you think Huggins whines, I'd venture to say you don't watch much college basketball.

          • Barry

            There is a difference in stating what your team should have done better than whining and moaning the way he does.

          • Aaron

            What should he tell the reporter? I can't answer you because I might hurt one of the players feelings. They really want to get the rebound or play defense but it's SO hard and these are growing young boys and we can't ask them to do something they might fail at.

            Something along those lines?

          • Barry

            How about pratice, the place where a coach should coach. He doesn't need to put his players down in front of the whole country.

          • Aaron

            I"m not saying Huggins didn't say the things you are crediting him for. I'll just say I guess I didn't watch every press conference because while I've heard him talk about work ethic, I do not recall him calling players lazy.

            I'm curious though, where is the place to go on and on about your teams deficiencies?

          • mad hatter

            Barry, you hit the nail right on the head,,, good post,, the truth hurts, reality sometimes hurts

          • Barry

            Go back and watch them again. There is no way you can believe that. Press Conferences are not the place to go on and on about how your team won't listen and how they don't practice enough. How they are lazy and chasing girls. It's funny because all that I seen this year was a young team that gave it their all, but not according to Huggins after a loss.I guess Huggins doesn't scream, cuss or bully either. And he doesn't yank guys out of the game and not put them back in the rest of the game for making mistakes.

          • Aaron

            I watched all of the press conferences that Metro news posted. I don't recall him ever throwing Eron Harris, or any other player for that matter, specifically under any bus.

            In most, he discussed where players failed to complete assignments. Is that what you mean by throwing one under the bus?

          • Barry

            Charleston, is that comment directed toward me? If so what are you trying to say?

          • Charleston

            Excellent post AT! I am hoping you aren't reflecting on ruminations as well, with the end result of your departure! Good day!