Juwan Staten wasn’t in a rush. On West Virginia’s first possession against Kansas last Saturday, he toyed with his defender, dribbled around screens and pulled the ball back out to pass to teammates.
Six passes later, with seven seconds left on the shot clock, none of his teammates had made a play. Staten retrieved the ball, and after a quick hesitation dribble, drove to the rim for the easy two.
He could have done that the first time he caught the ball. With a lightning-quick first step, the Mountaineers’ floor general has the ability to blow by a defender and find a seam to the basket on whim.
“He’s become one of the better point guards, explosive point guards not only in our league, I really believe around the country,” said Kansas State coach Bruce Weber, on whose squad Staten lit up for a career-high 35 points in February.
“He’s one of the quickest guys to get to one end to the other,” Weber said. “It’s a really difficult matchup for anybody.”
A year ago, Staten wasn’t considered one of the tougher guys to cover in the Big 12. The former University of Dayton transfer led WVU with 101 assists and 38 steals. Yet a modest line of 7.6 points and 2.9 boards per game gave him the rep of having more potential than production.
But heading into 2013-14, he worked to close as many holes in his game he could find.
He watched hours of game film, analyzing the moves of Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo. He also studied former players guided by West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, including Nick Van Exel and Steve Logan.
Why did those guys choose to pull up there, instead of continuing to the basket? Should he have made the extra pass instead of taking his own three? Why did he reset the offense when there was an opportunity to push in transition?
Becoming a better point guard meant breaking down his own game with similar scrutiny.
“I came back with the mindset to show everybody how much work I put in, and to show everybody how serious I was about the game,” Staten said.
Not only has Staten transformed into one of the nation’s most improved players, but he’s also one of the most complete PGs in the college game. (READ MORE.)