It’s been a pretty hectic summer so far for West Virginia University point guard Juwan Staten
and he says he has no plans of letting up right into his senior season this fall.
Last month, Staten was one of 13 college point guards invited to participate in the Nike Skills Academy, June 23-25, in New Jersey, and from his performance there he was invited to participate in the prestigious LeBron James Skills Academy, July 9-12, in Las Vegas.
“When I found out I got invited I was definitely excited,” said Staten Monday afternoon. “I tried to get into the gym and get a couple more workouts before I headed out there.”
What Staten saw out in Las Vegas was an eye opening experience, from getting to meet LeBron James to seeing how NBA players prepare themselves for a long and grueling season.
“We talked a lot about preparation,” said Staten. “The things that you need to do to prepare your body as far as eating and training and then we just went through court workouts. They let us know that we need to be aware of our surroundings and the people around us; you have to know how to handle yourself.”
James took some time to impart his wisdom on the 80 elite college and high school players invited to the camp, along with several other prominent people involved with the game such as ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas and former NBA player John Lucas.
For Staten, the biggest thing he took away from the camp was just how fast things move in the NBA game.
“They talked to all of the point guards about what they need to be able to do as far as playing with the pick and roll, as far as finding players and finding mismatches early on in the offense and not taking such a long time like you have in college,” Staten explained. “You have 35 seconds in college and the NBA game is a lot faster.
|Juwan pictured here with LeBron James at the LeBron James Skills Academy in Las Vegas last weekend.
|Juwan Staten photo
“You’ve got to come down and find the match up differences quickly, you’ve got to find out who is going to be doing the scoring and get him the ball quick and kind of work out of that,” he added. “That was kind of a big adjustment for us and that’s something that we continue to learn. A lot of the point guard position is time management and learning how to play the game.”
“Getting the ball across half court means a lot,” he said. “People don’t really think about that as much in college because you have so much time, but in the NBA you want to get the ball down the court very quickly so you can get the person who is going to be doing the scoring the ball. If not, then you need to be calling the screens fast so you can get players shots or get the ball moving. On the defensive end, you want to move your defense out farther to make them waste a lot of time before they get into their offense.”
What Staten now understands after his four days out in Las Vegas is that the NBA is a totally different lifestyle than what he’s used to in college.
He also came to realize that he fits right in with the best players in college basketball today.
“I definitely take away a lot of confidence from this,” he said. “Just being invited to the camp let’s you know that people are watching and definitely taking notice of what you’re doing and it let’s you know that you need to improve because a lot of people are going to expect a lot from you.”
Staten spent a lot of his free time texting WVU strength coach Andy Kettler on some of the things that he would like to add to his current training regimen to improve his conditioning and he also texted teammate Devin Williams
to let him know that he can be just as good as any of the bigs that were invited out to Las Vegas last weekend.
“I was just letting him know to stay in the gym and keep working because I feel like he is just as talented as any of those big men that were out there,” said Staten. “Just from talking to all of the guys who play at the next level confidence is the biggest thing they mention. With confidence you feel like you can do anything and without it you feel like you don’t even want to look in the mirror.”
No, after the way Staten performed out in Las Vegas last weekend, he won’t be avoiding any mirrors anytime soon.
“I’m really hungry and I’m ready to get after it,” he said.