MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - A year ago, Eron Harris led West Virginia in scoring, something a freshman hadn't done since Warren Baker was the top scorer during his first season with the Mountaineers 30 years earlier.
A season later, Baker set WVU's single-season record by averaging 39.6 minutes per game. That might stand for three decades, too, because these Mountaineers might need that much and more of their point guard.
"Juwan Staten is going to play a bunch of minutes," Coach Bob Huggins said after Staten played all 40 minutes in WVU's season-opening win Friday against Mount St. Mary's. "I probably played him too many, but we have to."
Not that anyone was complaining, of course. In the first start-to-finish game of his career, Staten scored a career-high 22 points and had a team-high six assists, five rebounds and two steals. WVU (1-0) will look for more of the same today when it plays Virginia Tech (0-1) at 1 p.m. at the Cassel Coliseum. The game will be televised by ESPN.
WVU will need a little of everything and sometimes a lot this season, especially as the Mountaineers blend in three freshman and a junior college transfer. The Mountaineers are also waiting for sophomore Terry Henderson to get over the inflamed shin muscles that kept him out of the exhibition win against Fairmont State and the Mount St. Mary's game last week and likely will have him on the bench again today.
"I'm very capable of doing everything I showed (Friday)," he said.
"I know we don't really have a whole lot of players and we don't really have a deep bench. I know I'm going to have to play a lot of minutes with a lot of young players. That forces me to step up in other areas. I know we have young guys inside, so we have to gang rebound. That forces me to get in the paint and hang around and catch loose ball rebounds."
WVU is light on returning players because of the amount of players who graduated (three) and transferred (five) after last season. Among the five returning players, though, Harris scored the most points while Staten had the most rebounds, free throws made and attempted, steals, assists and minutes played last season.
That wasn't necessarily by design, either. Harris was the team's top offensive option and Henderson was the most reliable perimeter shooter. Gary Browne had more offensive rebounds and a better free-throw percentage and no one was trusted to make the right decisions as much as Kevin Noreen. Staten, to put is plainly, struggled as a shooter.
He nevertheless worked throughout the offseason to earn and deserve whatever superlatives would come his way during his third year and second season with the team. Staten began at the University of Dayton in 2010-11 and led the Atlantic 10 in assists and finished second among freshmen nationally.
"Wanny kept talking about wanting to be the leader," Huggins said. "I tried to explain to him that the best leaders I ever had were guys who wanted to lead by example. They were the hardest-working guys in practice every day and also guys who knew what we wanted to do. It's hard to lead people in that direction if you don't know what direction you're going in."