The difference for the basketball Mountaineers, the reason to hope before you believe that things might be different, is that their quarterback has been around. Their quarterback regrets the way last season went. Their quarterback is on a mission to make things right.
Their quarterback is Juwan Staten, the junior point guard who had ups and downs throughout his second year and first season after transferring from Dayton. Staten - who was voted a team captain before the start of the 2012-13 season, but ended up getting benched because Huggins basically didn't like the way Staten was playing - saw the challenges coming. He's ready to work around them.
"For the last two years, I was used to playing with Jabarie Hinds, Aaron Brown, Keaton Miles," Staten said of former teammates who transferred in the offseason. "I knew what they were going to do and the things they weren't going to do. I knew how they'd react to certain situations. This year, bringing in new teammates, I honestly didn't know what to expect."
Huggins didn't replace his lost guards, Brown and Hinds, with two guards. He didn't swap Miles with another forward. Jonathan Holton is a refined power forward from Palm Beach State College who Huggins seems resigned to redshirt this season because of Holton's yet unexplained playing prohibition.
Elijah Macon, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins are high school forwards who aren't used to running to the ball like they must in WVU's offense, but Macon most likely won't play this season because of a wrist injury and eligibility.
Remi Dibo is a junior college forward who shoots. Nathan Adrian is a high school forward who shoots.
Staten's been getting to know new names and games. Staten said Dibo and Adrian are both shooters who can hit from all over the floor, but shooters who can miss shots and start to worry about it. He's discovered they bounce back when told they've made the shots they missed thousands of times before and that Staten is going to pass them the ball again soon.
Watkins and Williams have the talent, but Staten said they need time to get used to the opposing talent at this level. He constantly reminds both to play with intensity and to sustain that energy so that they can show off their physical gifts.
"I really paid close attention to them in the summer playing with them in open gym and team workouts," Staten said. "Learning their tendencies was one thing I wanted to pick up on. I knew I'd have a lot of new teammates but I wanted to pick up on their tendencies, and I just did that by being around them a lot on and off the court."
Contact sportswriter Mike Casazza at mi...@dailymail.com or 304-319-1142. His blog is at blogs.dailymail.com/wvu.