MORGANTOWN -- Through the first 13 games of West Virginia's basketball season, there seemed to be only one irreplaceable part.
Starting lineups changed (11 of the team's 13 scholarship players have now started), the rotation was altered by the game (if not the half or the minute), players went in and out of coach Bob Huggins' doghouse (only five have now played in every game) and time on the floor would often vary from most of one game to a token appearance the next.
Yet through it all, there was Juwan Staten.
The sophomore point guard had not only started every game, he was on the floor far more than anyone else. On a team on which no one averages significantly more than 20 minutes a night, Staten was playing more than 32. In a seven-game stretch beginning with an upset of Virginia Tech, Staten averaged more than 35 minutes. Freshman Terry Henderson was on the floor more than anyone else in those seven games and averaged just 21.7 minutes.
All of which made Staten's benching after the first half of last Wednesday's game rather shocking. But it was no more shocking than the reason.
"It's my team, not his,'' Huggins said at the time. "We talk all about being on the same page. I wrote the book, so he's going to be on the same page with everybody else or he's going to continue to sit over there.''
And Staten has. He sat for the second half of that Texas game and watched as the Mountaineers rallied to beat the Longhorns on the road. Then he sat for the entire game with No. 18 Kansas State Saturday afternoon at the Coliseum, doing little more than watching West Virginia's 65-64 loss.
The question is, of course, how long Staten's effective suspension lasts. Well, Huggins isn't sure. The Mountaineers (8-7, 1-2 Big 12) next travel to Ames for a Wednesday night game against Iowa State (11-4, 1-1). Will Staten even make the trip?
"Yeah,'' Huggins said. "He's going to travel.''
Playing, though, is another issue. But Huggins seemed to indicate that there was a pretty good chance.
"We all make mistakes,'' Huggins said Monday. "He's going to travel and we've got two days of practice [including Monday's] before Iowa State. We'll see where everything is and what happens from there.''
What exactly Staten's transgressions are still isn't quite clear except that it's merely an issue of doing the things Huggins wants done on the floor, when he wants them done.