Some of the most explosive weapons come in the smallest packages, and in the case of 6’1″ West Virginia guard Juwan Staten, that explosiveness comes by way of his jaw-dropping scoring ability. At 18.1 points per contest last season, Staten led the Big 12 in scoring, which speaks volumes for what was college basketball’s toughest conference in 2013-14. Now heading into his senior campaign, Staten still has much to be improved upon, despite being one of the most tenacious scoring threats in the NCAA. That said, it’s looking like Staten could very well be poised to make a run at being deemed the next Big 12 Player of the Year.
Flash back to Staten’s sophomore season, where he compiled only 7.6 points, 3.3 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game. Numbers like this could hardly get opponents to waste useful time putting his name on the scouting report, much less putting focus into ways to defending Staten.
What a complete difference a year can make.
The jump from his sophomore season to his junior season resulted in a statistical difference of 10.5 points, 2.5 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game as his numbers skyrocketed to 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. But the most spectacular aspect of these numbers, especially his conference-leading scoring, comes when you consider the lack of versatility he gives the Mountaineers offensively.
Staten doesn’t put on the greatest show as a jump shooter, and as for his willingness to knock down the long bombs…nonexistent would be putting it lightly. It’s not as if he can’t pull up from deep with success as he cashed in on six of his 15 attempts last season, he just has no desire to do so. But what makes Staten’s fiery scoring even more impressive is this lack of versatility, with the strong majority of his point production coming within a few feet of the rim.
Again, what a difference a year can make. Of course it’s up to Staten to put the work in the gym during the offseason to improve, but just as we saw during his last transitional offseason period, Staten can definitely make leaps and bounds of progress in comparison to others. If he can begin striking fear into the opposition from beyond the arc, in addition to relying on his jump shot more often, there isn’t a defender in college basketball that can prevent Staten from averaging around 25 points a night.
But Staten’s production doesn’t stop at just scoring, as he flirted with a double-double nearly every game last season. Let’s just look at some of his notable performances in conference play: 35 points, five assists and four rebounds at Kansas State; 19 points, nine assists and seven rebounds against No. 11 Iowa State; and 24 points, nine assists and five rebounds against No. 8 Kansas, just to name a few of his countless dominating displays.
Numbers like these alone are worthy of some very well deserved praise, but even more so, if Staten can take the next step in his progression during his final season of eligibility, he will undoubtedly be one of the clear-cut favorites to become the 2014-15 Big 12 Player of the Year.