MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - These days, West Virginia University's hoops team is Juwan Staten's world. The rest of the Mountaineer players are simply living in it. WVU's fans are simply watching.
Many times, as in Saturday's 81-71 Mountaineer win over Kansas State, those fans do so in awe.
All Staten did was go off for 35 points (43.2 percent of the team's total) with four rebounds, five assists and just two turnovers.
"He's like Superman," said teammate Terry Henderson. "He's honestly like Superman. If we have a tough weight [lifting] session, everyone will be sore, but he'll still be the one dunking and going 500 miles an hour. He just doesn't get tired, man."
It's a good thing because Staten is now averaging 37 minutes per game.
"He wants to win," said WVU coach Bob Huggins. "That's the biggest thing. He wants to win. Today we spread the ball a little bit more. We let him play off the bounce a little bit more. But the kid cares and he works. He wants to be a really good player. He hasn't backed off."
Did someone say Superman? In the last couple of games, at Baylor and against Kansas State, Staten reversed the spin of the earth, taking WVU back to the days when winning was commonplace.
"I'm just playing basketball the way I learned how to play," Staten said. "Coach has given me a lot of freedom. I'm making good decisions out there. My teammates are behind me."
In almost every statistical category.
Staten now leads the team in scoring (18-point average), minutes played, field goal percentage (if you ignore Kevin Noreen's 15-for-27 shooting against Staten's 136-of-258), assists and steals. He's even second to Devin Williams in rebounding, and it's not even close. At a listed 6-foot-1, Staten has 128 rebounds to Williams' 162. Next on the list is Brandon Watkins' 65.
And on Saturday he was "Staten Electricity."
"No one can stay in front of him," Henderson said. "No one. He's one of the best guards in the country."
Kansas State certainly had no answers.
"Staten's a great player," said Wildcats coach Bruce Weber. "They didn't even run sets. They just ran high ball screens."
All you had to do was watch Staten - and wonder.
Will he keep the ball and draw a foul? (Nigel Johnson knows the answer to that.)
Will he draw a foul with a shoulder wiggle? (Thomas Gipson can fill you in.)
Will he really shoot a trey? (Yep. Hit his only attempt.)
Will he drive to the foul line and dish to Williams? (Yes. Result: a converted Williams hook shot.)