• By John Antonik
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  • August 08, 2011 08:16 AM
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Dayton transfer Juwan Staten is unable to play, but that doesn’t mean his presence won’t be felt in the Mountaineer basketball program this year.

Staten’s quickness and above-the-rim skills will give the current Mountaineer players plenty of quality looks this winter.

“The one thing I can do is help them,” Staten said before Thursday’s practice. “I have a year under my belt. I kind of know what to expect. I kind of know a couple tricks of the trade so I can kind of use them or help the guys out in practice every day as they learn the game.”

Staten ranked 30th in the country in assists averaging 5.4 per game during his freshman season at Dayton, while also averaging 8.5 points per game in helping the Flyers to a 22-14 record and an NIT appearance. He was named to the all-Atlantic 10 rookie team and was named A-10 rookie of the week three times, but Staten was looking for something different and decided to transfer to West Virginia University.

In hindsight, Staten admits he wishes he would have looked more closely at WVU coming out of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy instead of choosing to play at his hometown school.

“I like West Virginia,” he said. “I like the people here. I like the school. I like the practices so far. I like all of the coaches. I just like everything about West Virginia and I just feel like it’s a good fit.”

Staten believes being just a few hours away from home provides him with the best of both worlds.

“Going through a year in high school when I lived away from home, being home wasn’t as much of a deal, but obviously I wanted to stay home and four hours is not that far,” he said. “I didn’t really know what to expect. I came here with an open mind and I’m pleased with everything I’ve seen while I’ve been here.”

Making the decision to transfer to a Big East Conference school that has recently been to the Final Four was the easy part. Now Staten has to sit out a year and watch his teammates play, and that won’t be as easy to do.

“I just have to take it day by day and kind of think toward the future – not really thinking about right now or the next game, but where I will be when I can eventually play,” he said.

Fortunately for Juwan, he won’t be doing this alone. His roommate is La Salle transfer Aaric Murray, who is also a first-year transfer. Murray, like Staten, is a high-quality A-10 player who was looking for a step up in competition by playing in the best basketball conference in the country.

“Me and Aaric talk a lot,” Staten said. “We’ve got to help each other, so he’s not going to be going through it alone and I’m not going to be going through it alone. We think about it and we know it’s going to be rough but we’re still here to help the team and next year we’ll be here.”

Staten can also get advice from Coach Bob Huggins, himself a former transfer who spent a year sitting out at WVU after coming from Ohio University.

“I didn’t even know that,” remarked Staten when learning that his coach was also a transfer. “That’s the first I’ve heard of that and I will have to ask him about that. He may have some encouraging words for me or something.”

Note: The team departs today for Italy. Be sure to check back frequently to view videos, photos and updates during West Virginia’s 13-day tour. You can also check out men’s basketball’s Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WVUmensbasketball for additional photos and updates. Just click the "like" button to have updates sent to your wall.