"Juwan's been really, really good,'' Huggins said. "He's been good from a leadership standpoint and he's been good from the standpoint of knowing what we want done.''
In order for West Virginia to be any good at all this season, so many moving parts have to come together. Four newcomers - all in the front court - have to be ready to play because Kevin Noreen is the only big man who has been in the program. Harris and Terry Henderson have to continue and improve on their freshmen seasons. Gary Browne has to shake off an awful sophomore season.
And Staten has to get back to being the point guard he was.
"He's been good,'' Huggins said. "I think he and Gary [Browne] both will tell you they didn't have very good years. I think that's the difference between him and some other guys. Instead of looking for somebody else to blame they kind of looked at themselves and said, 'I've got to do a better job.' And they have.
"They both were around, came in, asked questions. 'What do I need to do? How do I help the team win?' '
For Staten, the benching last season might have been the best thing that could have happened. Call it a wake-up call.
"That definitely hit home,'' Staten said. "It affected my play. It affected me on the court, off the court. It affected me in a lot of ways.
"My whole life I've been kind of recognized as a leader. So for our coaches to say that last year we didn't have any leadership really struck home for me. I did some stuff, some evaluation, in the offseason. I looked at a lot of game film and a lot of tape and thought about some things I could do this year to help this team and to separate myself as a leader.''
Among those things was simply talking to Huggins and the rest of the coaches. Staten, like everyone else, knew that this season would be a challenge right from the start because of the influx of so many new players. And unless everyone was on the same page, it wasn't going to work.
"I just wanted to find out what they wanted to stress to the players and come out and help out,'' Staten said. "I've been in the program for three years now. So I think I know what coach Huggs and the other coaches want from us.''
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1