MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The NBA feedback wasn’t encouraging enough, nor was the outcome of Juwan Staten’s junior season satisfying enough. Those factors led West Virginia’s point guard to decide he had not had enough of college basketball.

Staten was a guest Monday night on the MetroNews “Statewide Sportsline,” his first interview since announcing he would not apply for the NBA draft. Along with elaborating on his decision to return to WVU for a senior year, Staten discussed last week’s stunning revelation that high-scoring teammate Eron Harris won’t be coming back:

On Harris opting to transfer:
“I was very surprised. That wasn’t anything that I could have saw happening during the season. I mean, he was having a great season. He didn’t mention it, he didn’t act like it, his attitude didn’t change. That was something that was a surprise to all of us. I don’t really know what triggered that.”

On what Staten heard about his NBA draft prospects this year:
“I always dreamed about going to the NBA, but it wasn’t really in the way it was happening this year. It wasn’t through being a second-round pick or maybe going undrafted. It was hearing my name called and being assured that I was going to be a first-round or maybe even a lottery pick.”

Staten’s sense that he has unfinished business in college:
“We didn’t finish the season the way we wanted to. We definitely wanted to make it to the NCAA tournament. I haven’t been to the tournament since I’ve been in college so that’s something that kind of bothers me.”

On what former AAU teammate Elijah Macon will add next season:
“He’s one of the best athletes I’ve ever played with. He’s versatile—he can go outside and hit some jump shots, he an take his man off the dribble, and he can play with his back to the basket.”

Staten’s impressions after a season practicing with Jonathan Holton:
“Jon is just a ball of energy. He’s pretty much a glue guy, basically going to be the face of our defense. He controls the paint—anything that comes in there he’s either altering the shot or blocking it. He can score on offense with his back to the basket, and he’s a great 3-point shooter. He’s everywhere. He’s always on the glass or involved in every play.”

A guess at next year’s starting five:
“I’d definitely slide Elijah and Jon in there because they give us lot on both ends of the floor. We’re noticeably better with them in, especially on the defensive end. We’ll be more athletic and able to run. And then I’d probably slide Remi (Dibo) in there too, just because he’s a great player when he’s surrounded by great players. He gets to do what he does. It kind of allows him to be a specialist.”

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  • Mister Man

    I'm a big fan of Brandon Watkins. He will end up being an NBA caliber player.

  • Aaron

    One difference maker next year very well could be Kevin Noreen. He needs to get out with Staten and really develop a 3 point shot. If he could do that consistently, he could help the rotation tremendously as he is willing to play defense and will at least run back down the court.

    • Hop'sHip

      I can see the date of your post. I know what you are up to.

    • John Doe

      Kevin Noreen is not even close to a D-1 athlete. He wouldn't even play in old WVIAC. Huggins hated Smalligan and tried to get him to quit by almost killing him. He went to the hospital if you remember. He needed the extra scholarship but Jamie stayed. Our recruiting has been bad the last three years and Huggins has had no quality big men to rely on. Kevin is a good kid that works hard so he gets some minutes but the moral to the story is he should have never been recruited to play here.

      • KeatonsCorner

        Just to add some ACCURACY here, when Bob Huggins was hired at WVU, Jamie Smalligan approached him asking for a release so he could transfer....

        Bob Huggins asked, and convinced Smalligan to stay at WVU for his final season.

        So, no. Huggs did not "try to run him off"

        He did not hate Jamie at all, and often praised him that season for giving up what he was good at (perimeter mismatches) in order to better the team.

      • Aaron

        Other than your assessment of Noreen being a personal opinion, what you say may very well be true regarding Smalligan but that doesn't change the fact that he still played 12 minutes per game.

    • John

      Aaron, most of your comments are good and well thought out but this one, I am not so sure. Noreen cannot stay on the floor and is simply not that good for WVU to depend on him being a difference maker. He can defend to some degree but is forever in foul trouble. I will admit it appears refs have it in for him as he gets whistled for fouls that should be no calls. Front line has to show and play better. Macon, Holton, Williams are the keys. Henderson/Dibo combo with Staten starting. Noreen and Watkins coming off the bench along with Brown and a couple of the incoming Freshman guards. Not sure what that will add up to but it's what we got so Huggs has to make the most of it. NCAA would be nice but I am not seeing it.

      • Aaron

        Do you believe previous teams were successful because of players like Rob Summers, Jamie Smalligan and Cam Thoroughman? If so, then why not Noreen?

        While I do not believe he will start next year given the depth this team should have, he will play 10-15 minutes a game because he is a big body who can (somewhat) defend, he's a decent passer, and he knows what Huggins wants. How many times did Cam Thouroughman or Smalligan enter games for the sole reason of knowing what Huggins wanted? Noreen will play a role on next years team.

        The biggest problem with Noreen is his offense. When he is in the game, it's 5 on 4 when WVU has the ball. He is not a threat inside nor do I believe he can become one but if he can step up and hit the 3 on offense, he will force opposing teams to defend him somewhat and prevent them from either collapsing inside or double teaming other WVU players.

        If he can play solid defense, pass the ball and hit some shots, it will make a difference next year. In addition to that though, he will set the tone in practices and if he forces others to work and improve, he makes a difference there.

        Hence my statement, I believe he can be a difference maker next year. I get John that an average mind cannot grasp that but if you understand basketball, you should be able to understand what I am saying.

        • mad hatter

          these other players you mentioned could walk and chew gum at the same time.

      • mad hatter

        watkins needs to reshirt,,, i think he's got great potential, and with a redshirt, he can become another dennis rodman

    • mad hatter

      r u serious? LOL

  • .

    Both of the freshmen next year (Miles and Carter) are undersized shooting guards, so I do not expect either to log many minutes at the PG spot as a freshman. I am hoping that Huggs can bring in a JuCo backup PG to take Harris' scholarship so we can cut Staten's minutes down to around 32 per game. It was a miracle that Staten played 37.3 minutes per game, during which he repeatedly made sharp cuts in traffic and launched himself into larger defenders, and didn't get injured until the end of the season. Browne will continue to get some run as well due to his high energy and defense, but he can't really run the offense.

    • Aaron

      I believe WVU is in communication with a Juco point guard Tarik Phillip who is a freshman. I think it was more likely he would have committed prior to Staten's announcement but you never know. There's also rumors of T.J. Dunans being offered. While not a great shooter but he can score. The question is, can he play defense.

      • mad hatter

        capt. obvious

      • Mister Man

        Not a good shooter but he can score? Don't you have to shoot to score?

        • Aaron

          Google offensive efficiency.

    • Logan

      Undersized? Staten is smaller than both. They are a little shorter than Henderson. Agree with all your other points though, we need to find a way to rest Staten.

      • .

        Yes, Staten is smaller than both. However, Staten is a natural PG and doesn't play SG for us. The freshmen are natural SGs who will probably be able to attack the paint and score a little bit but likely won't be able to run an offense as the PG (at least not as true freshmen). At around 6' 1"-3" (those are listed heights; won't be surprised if they are shorter), both players are undersized for the SG spot.

  • Red Dwarf

    "That wasn’t anything that I could have saw happening...." I don't see an English degree in his future, either.

    • Andy

      Yee of always perfect grammar in all of your public speaking events.

    • Mister Man

      Could have "saw?"

  • ole sasquatch

    Next yr. : Defense - Defense - Defense!
    Dibo & Adrian need a lot of weightlifting.
    Brandon Watkins especially needs weightlifting and maybe red shirted. Why? Because he may very well have more potential than anyone else on the team, especially if he develops a Kareem Jabbar hook which would be a game changer.
    I agree with Staten's starting line-up.

    • Rich

      I'd really like to see us redshirt Watkins. I think he has a ton of potential. Let him take a year to get stronger and more polished offensively. Let the "ineligible twins" do the heavy lifting down low next year, lord knows we've waited long enough on both of them

  • cutty77

    WVU should be pretty good next year. Next year is a very big year for Huugs too. This is The 2nd straight year with no NCAA apperance.I'm not worried about Harris leaving,Henderson will step up. Staten is The Man,period.

  • Ike

    I'm glad that Juwan is coming back too. If he improves as much next year as he did this year, that would be really special. If Huggs wants to improve Juwan's NBA skills a little more, he could slide him to the 2 spot at times when the game is under control and let Gary and Dax run point. It would be different if our 2 could put the ball on the floor without turning it over. Just a thought. Glad you stayed in school Juwan. We have a chance to be pretty good.

    • .

      Unless he develops a consistent 3pt shot and learns to catch and shoot, Staten cannot play SG. He is totally useless on offense without the ball in his hands. Teams would sag off of him and kill our floor spacing. He did score a lot and displayed a pull-up mid-range game this year, but damn near all of his points came from attacking off the dribble.

  • Rick55

    Really happy that Wannie is going to finish it out. Crucial for next year. As for Harris, I've said it before and I'll say it again- a very likeable guy but immature personally and on the court-unable to control his emotions and stay focused on the job at hand. I really do wish him luck though-seems like a good guy. While Macon and Holt can really help, I don't think we should get ahead if ourselves too quick. They may struggle with the same inexperience issues that we did this year. TH is still the key to success next year. He is the most physically gifted of the players here and in my opinion only has to stay healthy and continue to develop at a normal pace and he will potentially be one if the main go-to guys on defense and offense. All must improve defensively though-I couldn't agree more.

    • Aaron

      "They may struggle with the same inexperience issues that we did this year."

      Macon is 2 years removed from high school while Holton is 3 years out thus both are more mature. Depending on how much ball Macon plays this summer, he will likely have to adjust as Mitch pointed out but both should have a quicker adjustment given their age.

    • mad hatter

      it's great that juwanie is coming back, he can now polish is game and get ready for the nba or european circuit whichever.
      love to see him get a real consistant 3 pt game, that's about all that is left .
      A real team leader, who would have thought it.

    • Mitch


      You are correct in thinking that it will probably take Macon a while to adjust to the Div.-1 game, but remember that Holton already has a year's experience as a D-1 starter (at Rhode Island). This will not be his first rodeo.

  • DWM

    Staten saved next season. We'll go big next year with starting lineup of Holton, Macon, (Willams and Adian rotating at 4 and 5 with Adrian some at the 3 too) and Dibo at the 3 with Henderson at the 2 and Staten at 1. We need Browne to be better. We haven't had this many bigs since Huggs has been back.

    That is a really good team. Nearly certain that Huggs wll scrap the three guard thing and look a little more traditional. The big winner in Harris leaving is Henderson. Imagine if Henderson gets healthy and puts on 20 lbs of muscle? I look for Henderson to make the biggest improvement this year.

    I'm more excited about the Men's basketball team than I am of any other sport next year.

    • Aaron

      I like the chances of our ladies earning their 3rd consecutive soccer championship but they need to improve their performance in the NCAA's. While they did win a shootout this year, improving on 2012's one and done showing against Princeton, they need to step up their game to be a national power. With everyone back, now is the time.

      Let's go Mountaineers!!!

      Oh, and I like the chances for the basketball team as well.

  • Say What

    We need a team full of three-point shooters. Two or three just won't cut it anymore . And EVERYONE has to play defense!

  • jay zoom

    STATEN will shine DIBO will be a bust -- HOLTON AND MACON ???????????????? HENDERSON if healthy could be a factor HARRIS is gone (bummer) enough said OH and at the end of the season it will be ---ONE AND DONE. THANKS OLLIE

    • mad hatter

      dibo is a bust,, we won't have to wait on that to happen

    • Darren

      How about we stayed in the AAC, win 20 games a year and still not make the Dance. That was life before the Big East. I'll agree basketball has dropped off over the last few years, but I don't understand blaming it on Ollie. Conference Greed among all conferences, maybe

    • Mitch


      Just wanted to clarify, are you thanking Ollie for quadrupling our conference income, or for just saving us from conference oblivion in general?
      You know you probably can't help being ignorant, but you don't have to be so anxious to put it on public display.

  • Aaron

    While I would like to see him improve his 3 point shot, I do not want it to be at the detriment of his 2 point shot. When a player has a bit of an unorthodox shot like Staten does on his mid-range jumper, altering it to shoot the 3 can hurt that part of his game.

    I really thought he and Harris could have helped each other but it wasn't mean to be.

    The only think I wonder is if there is a hidden meaning behind his saying he would start Dibo after Tony suggested Henderson at the Guard spot.

    • MntrinOhio

      Staten did not replace Henderson with Dibo, he added him on the front line with Macon and Holton.

      • Aaron

        I didn't hear him mention Williams or Henderson, nor was there reference in the story.

        If Dibo is going to start, he's got a ton of work to do on defense.

        • mad hatter

          how do you always get things so mixed up?

  • mad hatter

    as they say, "cautiously optimistic" about next season.
    I hate to keep saying next yr, but huggins put us in this hole, and it's up to fix it bob to get us back to respectability, soon.

    I just hope that Holton and Macon bring everything to the game that is being said about them..
    I think Holton deserves the second change, and he seems determined to do good.. We need all the help that he can give us.

  • Dave

    I'm glad Juwan decided to return for his Senior year. Another year will do him good and give him a better shot at getting that Lottery Pick. I don't like the fact that he feels he has to show NBA scouts that he can shoot the three. That's not his game. His game is penetration and if it's not there, dish it out to the the open shooter. We have guys that can shoot the three, Remi, Nate and Terry.
    Excited about next season.


    • Mitch

      In the NBA the 3-point shot has to be a part of every PGs game.

  • scott

    Lets goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Mountaineers!!!!!!!

    • B

      Teams will just extend the 2-3 zone and keep Staten from driving. Without Harris this defense will be a big challenge to this team.