MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - So far, sophomore Eron Harris is doing just about everything he can to help West Virginia during games early this season.
He leads the team and is second in the Big 12 in scoring (21.1 points per game) and nobody in the conference has more field goal attempts (103), baskets (50), 3-point attempts (45) and made 3-pointers (24).
He's also led Bob Huggins' reinvigorated offense by staying on the floor and only committing nine fouls in 32.6 minutes per game.
"I'm taking more shots because I'm comfortable taking more shots," Harris said. "Coach Huggins has put me in a role to take more shots and I'm making them. I'm going to keep attacking and doing what my teammates need me to do."
Still, it might be what Harris is doing before and after the games that gives this season its shape for the Mountaineers, (5-2) who play host to Loyola (4-1) at 7 p.m. tonight at the Coliseum (Root Sports).
Take his preparation for last week's championship game loss to Wisconsin in the Cancun Challenge as an example. The Mountaineers and the Badgers were getting ready while Old Dominion and Saint Louis played the consolation game. Harris was off by himself.
"They had a practice gym and he was in there before the championship game shooting the ball pretty much the whole time the other game was going on," Huggins said.
Harris scored 27 points and made 7 of his 11 3-point shots. The Mountaineers returned to campus a day later and Harris helped organize a team meeting away from the coaches to make sure everyone was serious about the goals they'd set before the 70-63 loss to the 10th-ranked Badgers.
This is still a team that starts freshmen Devin Williams and Nathan Adrian and relies on junior college transfer Remi Dibo for a lot of points and many minutes off the bench, and Harris was careful to let people know he's still happy with the team and confident it can get back to the NCAA Tournament.
"I had a talk with the younger guys to let them know a basketball game is a basketball game, and when we need you we need you to play like you know how to play," Harris said. "Don't come out in big games and act timid. If you want to shoot the ball and you feel the shot, you should take the shot.
"We need guys to hit shots. Nathan Adrian, we need him to make shots to win games. I told him to go out and play with complete confidence. Same with Devin. Devin looked a little shaky to me."