Some good news out of WVU

Finally, some news coming out of Morgantown that doesn’t involve a coach not being rehired or a player electing to transfer.

“We are thrilled and excited to have Juwan (Staten) return for his senior season,” veteran mens head basketball coach Bob Huggins said. “We are looking forward to coaching and helping Juwan achieve every goal that he has set for himself and for the team.”

Huggins isn’t the only one excited.

When the news came out that second-leading scorer Eron Harris had elected not to return to Morgantown following the Mountaineers’ early exit from the National Invitational Tournament, all eyes-and ears-turned toward Staten and whether he intended to leave the old gold and blue early to enter the upcoming NBA draft.

More that one heart dropped when it was discovered that a Mountaineer team that showed signs of returning to its ‘glory days’ throughout its up-and-down 17-16 campaign might be without its top two offensive threats.

Staten was a huge part of WVU’s victories over NCAA tournament teams Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma and Kansas and was expected to be the cornerstone for next year’s team.

“Juwan’s improvement from his sophomore season to his junior season this year was unbelievable,” continued Huggins. “He became the first player in school history to score more than 500 points, dish out more than 150 assists, and grab more than 150 rebounds in a season. His work ethic is second to none, and I know Juwan will put in the time in the practice facility in the offseason to improve his game even more.”

The return of Staten, who averaged 18.1 points per game and shot nearly 49 percent from the field, means more than just points. The senior-to-be is the unquestioned leader of the Mountaineers.

Many times the results of a game could be predetermined based on the play of Staten. Simply put-“As Staten went, so went WVU”.

“After talking to my parents and coach Huggins, I have decided to return to West Virginia University for my senior season,” Staten explained. “It has always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA and a dream of mine to hear my name called as a lottery pick in the NBA draft. I believe everything happens for a reason and I have a good feeling about playing my senior season at WVU.”

He could probably add politics to his list of desires as Sunday’s announcement propelled him into “favorite son” status among Mountaineer fans.

“Since I have been at West Virginia, I have fallen in love with the fans and the entire state of West Virginia,” Staten said. “I love the state and this university and I certainly want to give back to the fans for my fifth season. I am excited about next year’s team, and we are going to prepare as hard as we can to get back to the NCAA tournament.”

Ditto, Juwan.

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com