LUBBOCK, Texas - The impact Jonathan Holton might have on West Virginia's basketball team from an X's and O's perspective remains a great unknown.
For that matter, his eligibility itself remains in doubt, so perhaps any discussion of his impact is premature.
This, however, seems certain, at least as far as almost everyone inside the program is concerned:
Holton would provide a spark.
"Well, one thing he does is he raises our spirits,'' point guard Juwan Staten said.
So much about Holton remains a mystery. And that includes the question of whether or not he will even play.
Those close to the team seem optimistic, if not confident. The 6-foot-7 junior college transfer hasn't played during the team's first 15 games - the latest of which was Monday night's 89-86 overtime win at Texas Tech - because he had not yet completed requirements for his two-year degree. By all accounts he has done so now, though, and so it's simply a matter of gaining approval from the NCAA to add him to the active roster.
The hope is that the NCAA does that this week and by the time WVU hosts preseason Big 12 co-favorite Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon Holton will be in uniform. He's been allowed to practice all along, and so even though most of his practice time has come with the scout team he at least has a working knowledge of what Bob Huggins' team likes to do.
And it's those three months of watching Holton practice and playing against him every day that has the Mountaineers at least encouraged by what he could add. Despite the fact that he knew he would not play for a while this season - if at all - by all accounts Holton has brought his game to every workout.
"He's definitely an energy guy,'' Staten said. "He has a high motor. He comes ready to work every play. And that's something that we really need.''
It's something the Mountaineers need not because they have a lazy group or anything like that, but so many of West Virginia's key players - four of those in what has been a nine-man rotation this season - are newcomers who have never played at this level.
Huggins preaches constantly - ad nauseam, some would argue - the necessity of never taking plays off. WVU's three freshmen - Nathan Adrian, Devin Williams and Brandon Watkins - and junior college transfer Remi Dibo are learning that as the games tick off, but it's never a bad thing to add someone to the mix who lives that philosophy.