COLUMBUS, Ohio -- West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins and Mountaineers players Juwan Staten and Gary Browne discussed the March 22 Maryland-WVU bout at 8:40 p.m. in Nationwide Arena. Here's what they had to say:
Q. Guys, did you get to see Maryland? Did you
watch any of their game on TV or did have you
seen film? Wondering what your impressions are
JUWAN STATEN: We had a chance to watch them. We
stayed and watched half of their game yesterday. We
watched some film on them. But they've been on TV a
number of times this year. So we've got to see them a
But they're a great team. They play in a
great conference. But we noticed that they like to keep
their pace. They play at a pretty nice pace. They don't
really like to get out of control. So we want to speed
this game up and make it into one of our type of
GARY BROWNE: Yeah, I feel like he said it all. But at
the same time, we watch them. There's one thing we
gotta make sure that we do, we keep the ball away
from their guard, Trimble, and that will be the big key
for us right there.
Q. Just kind of wondering, I know it's hard to
prepare for their guys' full-court pressure on short
notice. On the flip side, Maryland seems to have a
number of different ball handlers, maybe smaller
lineup kind of deal. Just kind of wondering -- and
they have some size at the guard position as well.
I'm wondering if any of those two factors kind of --
what do you guys think about those factors going
into the game?
GARY BROWNE: Like I said, we've got to make sure
that Trimble doesn't have the ball. They can all handle
the ball but I don't feel like they would be able to handle
the ball with our pressure. They feel comfortable
dribbling the ball in the perimeter, but I don't think, full
court, I don't feel like they are comfortable doing that.
So we've got to make sure we keep the ball away from
their guard and make other guys make all the
JUWAN STATEN: We play one way all year. We
haven't really changed up how we play for anybody. So
why start now? We're just going to turn it into one of
our games and that's just the game plan.
Q. Juwan, the morning after, how did you feel
physically? How was the knee?
JUWAN STATEN: I feel good. Conditioning is a little --
it was a little shaky last night. I was real tired. Kind of
hit the bed early. But I feel good today. My knee feels
good. It's not a question.
Q. Juwan, you grew up in this state. What is the
relationship between Ohio and the game of
basketball, and how do you think playing it in this
state contributed to your competitiveness to any
skills you developed?
JUWAN STATEN: It's a lot of -- it's great basketball in
Ohio. From the time I started until the time I left, it was
great basketball. It's always a lot of competition. So
that's where you get your competitiveness from. And
you just learn to bring it every day. I think that's
something that started in Dayton. It's a lot of guys that
you probably never hear about but a lot of guys that
can play pretty good basketball.
I just learned how to
compete. You never get a break. It doesn't matter
what city you go to in Ohio or who you play against, it's
always somebody that's a fierce competitor.
Q. You guys are both seniors. And when Coach
Huggins says this year he wants to institute this
full-court press type defense here, was there any
resistance from you guys? Did you have any
thoughts, man, this is so different than what we've
done in the past. It could be a lot of wear and tear.
Was there any kind of pushback from the players
overall or did you just say you know what, we'll
welcome this, let's give it a try?
JUWAN STATEN: Well, I think this is a way that we all
enjoy playing. We're playing fast. We're turning people
over. We're trying to get out in transition. And
ultimately we have a great coach and we trust him and
we believe in him.
And nobody's going to fight what
he's talking about. So from day one he told us this is
the way we want to play. With me and Gary being
seniors, we wanted to relay that message to the new
guys coming in. And that's how it's been from day one.
GARY BROWNE: Yes, he said it all. To be honest with
you, we believe in what he stands for and what he said.
Whatever he said, if he told us this is what we're going
to do we're going to be right behind him.
Q. At one point yesterday the game seemed to be
pretty much in hand and then it got tight again.
You guys had some turnovers or some botched
plays. Going forward, not just the next game but
even games after that, those kind of things can
come back. Have you gone through that? Have
you talked through that or is that just something
that you're going to have to live with as a team
that's part of your character, for somebody who
hasn't seen you play?
GARY BROWNE: We've been through that through the
whole season. We've been having the whole game in
the first half and then the second half we have a couple
of turnovers or we made some silly fouls, and they
come back in the game. But one thing we've been
doing a great job this year is keep fighting back. We
fought back like we did last night. And, yeah, we had a
couple of turnovers, but we didn't lose our focus, and
we fought. And we finished it.
JUWAN STATEN: Like Gary said, it's a part of the
game. You can't always control what's going to
happen. But you can always control how hard you play
and how hard you compete. So we know that the ball
-- we sometimes we're going to turn the ball over.
Sometimes we're going to make silly fouls, but as long
as we keep competing and playing harder and longer
than our opponents, we should have a good outcome.
Q. Regarding one of your assistant coaches, Ron
Everhart, I was wondering if it's obvious to you
guys how close he and Bob Huggins are, and what
if anything he's been able to help you guys with
over the past couple of years?
GARY BROWNE: Just like him and the other staff, they
do a great job by helping us on and off the court. He
always tells us the story of how he rebound for Hugs,
so we know how much like he legit, like, love him. He
tells us that every time. But, yeah, he does a great job
just like the other assistant coaches telling us that stuff.
It's special, but he do a great job with that.
JUWAN STATEN: Like Gary said, we've heard stories
of them two growing up and how Coach used to
rebound for him after games and stuff. That's pretty
much it, the extent of that. Coach Hugs is the coach
and we listen to him. We listen to all our coaches. So I
don't really think it goes any further than that.
Q. Just wanted to talk to you about, I know all
season it's been scoring by committee. There
hasn't been one guy who has just led the way the
whole year. With that being said, Devin Williams
seems like he's been a different player since the
Big 12 awards came out, wasn't on the first, second
or third team. And he's really stepped up his
game. Leading scorer yesterday. How important is
he to the success of this team and especially
establishing a low post presence?
JUWAN STATEN: Dev is very important to our team
because he is our low post presence. You can tell by
just looking at him. He's built like a Roman god. But
just throw the ball in to him and let him work. When
he's playing great offense that's great for us because
he's always going to be rebound no matter what.
When he can step up and score more points, that's
great for us because we don't have to turn into such a
Q. Curious, when you think about the Big 12
struggling at the start of the tournament, with
some losses and some high profile losses, did you
guys feel any pressure to kind of carry the flag of
GARY BROWNE: To be honest with you, I mean, in my
personal opinion I don't really pay attention to what
other people say. We have our goals. We have a small
circle. We don't care what other people said out of our
circle. We care about what we've got in our circle.
Because if you care about that, then let's say at the
very beginning of the season nobody had no high
expectations for us, so why do we care what's going on
JUWAN STATEN: Yeah, I mean, that just kind of puts a
little added motivation, in my opinion. Just to see, we
played against all these teams. We know how good
they are. And just to see some of them get knocked off
early just kind of lit a fire under us, let us know it can't
happen to us. I guess we are -- us, Kansas, Oklahoma
-- trying to carry the Big 12 flag, but ultimately we feel
like we have our own goals, like Gary said. And we're
not really worried about that.
Q. Juwan, your first NCAA experience last night.
Did it feel different? Was it a normal basketball
game in the end or was there more pressure,
JUWAN STATEN: I would say, I mean, it was a big
game but just another game. I like to think that
pressure is just something that you put on yourself. So
I mean, definitely felt great to play in the game. The
atmosphere was crazy.
But after you play in so many
games, they become games. It's the only extra, I
guess, fear or anything, that's the stuff that you put on
yourself. I like to tell myself it's a big game but it's just
another game. And that's how I look at every game.
Q. Juwan, starting with you, is it fun to play the
style y'all play? Do you understand what I'm
saying, the get after it style, what's it like out there
when you're in the midst of it?
JUWAN STATEN: It's very fun to play especially when
you're fresh. When you get tired it may get a little
rough because you can never stop playing hard. But
when you're fresh it's a great style to play because it
doesn't give you a chance to kind of think about what's
going on. You just have to play hard and usually when
you are playing as hard as you can good things come
from it. So it's a great way to play, especially if you're
GARY BROWNE: I'm laughing now because I was
thinking about the other day, I told Hugs, we were on a
radio show. And they asked how we like this style of
game. And I told Hugs, why didn't we do it the last
three years? And he started laughing and he said
something back to me.
But at the same time, I like it.
Like he always said, it's hard to play when somebody's
in your face 24/7. No one's like that. So I bet no one
like playing us, and that's good for us.
Q. Have you all gotten used to being a member of
the Big 12? You understand what I'm saying, or do
you feel like you're still sort of this satellite campus
out here out on the East?
JUWAN STATEN: It's pretty new to us. We've been in
the conference for a couple of years. But it's still fairly
new. But I think after this season, this past season, I
think everybody knows who West Virginia is. I think
we're kind of looked at as a stepchild before. But we
raised some noise this year. So I think that's pretty
much out the door.
GARY BROWNE: No, he said it all. And to be honest
with you, when they say West Virginia, they say Bob
Huggins and the staff, the coaching staff. So they
know what it is. Just the last three years it hasn't been
like that. But now we've been doing so far a good job
by bringing it back.
Q. When you watch you guys play, Bob is pretty
animated on the sidelines, both with the officials
and kind of reacting when you guys do stuff. I
wonder if you guys notice that during the game
and what it's like playing for him? And also
curious what do you think of his game day attire,
which is a little different than I think most
JUWAN STATEN: Personally I like it. It's something
that I had to get used to, because when I first got here,
it was kind of throwing me off. I never been around a
coach so animated. But as I've gotten to know him and
as I've played for him, it kind of gets me going more.
When I first got here I wasn't a player that was really
animated. But if you watch me play, I'm always excited.
I'm kind of turned into a replica of my coach. So it's
something that's grown on me. And I appreciate it.
GARY BROWNE: Yeah, I mean, you see our style of
game, right? We gotta be animated. We've got to
have a coach like that. And he's doing a great job by
doing that. Sometimes we're not animated, he makes
sure we are.
Q. What about the attire?
JUWAN STATEN: That's up to him. I like it. Why follow
the same tradition as everybody else. Create your
own. I like it. Especially the way he coaches. He's
going to do a lot of sweating. Why mess up a good
Q. You guys talked a little earlier about being new
to the Big 12. But you do have some history, I
believe, with Maryland. Can you kind of talk about
that and maybe not so much recently, probably
after this -- maybe not you as players, but I mean
the university has had a lot of history with
JUWAN STATEN: Honestly, I don't really -- we haven't
been around long enough to really know that tradition
between West Virginia and Maryland. We just know
that we're fighting for are our life. And we want to win.
That's enough for us.
Q. Similar to Maryland this offseason you guys had
some turnover. You lose Eron Harris and Terry Henderson, guys that are contributors? What do
you do as seniors to regroup your team and get to
where you guys have gotten to this point?
JUWAN STATEN: It's a new season, new faces, new
expectations. That's something we always talk about.
We don't want to live in the past. We're going to deal
with the guys we have in front of us. And me and Gary,
we have a pretty good relationship with Coach Hugs.
We know what he wants. It's on us to relay that
message to the new guys from day one and it hasn't
been a problem.
Q. One, Maryland, size of guards, and they seem to
have more than two, three ball handlers.
Wondering how does that affect preparations when
it comes to your full-court pressure. And, two,
wondering over the years how many Maryland
stories have you heard from Billy?
COACH HUGGINS: Let me answer the first one first.
Every day. Billy's got more stories, and probably
rightfully so. And he's had some of his former
teammates come over to some games. So quite a bit.
I actually visited Maryland when Billy was a freshman
and Billy showed me around. Well, actually I got away
from him. But yeah, I've known Billy for a long, long
time. We're not going to, at this point in time, change a
Obviously we're going to make
adjustments according to what they're trying to do and
how they're trying to get us to play. But what are we,
31, 32 games in. I mean, we're not going to change
Q. Bob, somebody else you've known for a long
time, Ron Everhart, what's he been able to bring to
your staff and being a former head coach for a long
time, how does it work with someone who has
been sort of used to being the main guy?
COACH HUGGINS: Ronnie fit right in. But you've got
to understand I've got three former coaches on my
staff. Actually, there's, counting me, there's four. So
I've got four guys that have been through getting hired
as Division I coach and getting fired as a Division I
So we pretty much run the gamut. But Ronnie
has brought great enthusiasm for the game and a great
love for West Virginia. Growing up right down the road
in Fairmont. He's surrounded by hire and friends. And
he understands, I think, as well as anybody how
important West Virginia basketball is in our state and
how much our state rallies around it.
And I think that's
important. I think that's really important, particularly
because we have to recruit so many guys from out of
our state. And he's been great on the floor. I mean,
when you have he and Larry and Billy. And Erik played
for me, so Erik's got a good idea what I want done. I've
got a great staff. I couldn't imagine having a better
staff than what I have.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about how clean you
have to be in your style of play going forward?
Yesterday you seemed to have the game in hand
for a while and then a couple of alley-oops and
missed alley-oops, a couple of turnovers, whatever.
The players seem to think that that's part of their
personality as a team. But again is that something
you can continue to do and continue to go
forward? Is that some of the things you've got to
COACH HUGGINS: Well, obviously we don't want to
turn it over. But I mean that's going to happen at the
pace we play, we're going to turn it over some. But the
alley-oop thing, I don't know where it came from. We
hadn't done that before. And I think the first one, Wany
tried to throw, Jaysean thought Wany was going to lay
it in and he stopped running.
But the one or two,
whatever it was, were out of character. I don't think
you'll see that again. I don't think we have to worry
about that. I think I've expressed my opinion strongly
enough. Actually may be abrasive, I think that's the
word that's been bantered around now. Isn't it a shame
in today's world you can't tell the truth? If you tell the
truth you're abrasive. If you lie you're charming.
Q. Since you guys have been new to the Big 12, I
know you and your staff have tried to reach out to
various schools for scheduling purposes. And I'm
wondering, was Maryland a school that you guys
have talked to, or would you like to see something
with Maryland in the future?
COACH HUGGINS: I talked to Gary before Gary
retired. And I think Gary was open to it. And I know
you and I have discussed this before. But we still have
to generate income. So we can't play every game on
the road. And so obviously you can't play all homeand-
homes. You have to buy some people in and
make some money too.
And it's got to be worked into
their schedule and worked into our schedule, because,
for instance, we just signed a ten-year deal for a homeand-
home series that you're aware of. And we're
about, I think, to sign another four-year home-andhome
series, with another school who is the same kind
It's just got to work out, that's all. It's kind
of interesting that everybody thinks we've played -- -
we've played Maryland 36 or 38 times in the history
and two in the last 25 years. And we're asking those
two guys and neither one of them are 25 yet. They
probably didn't remember anything. I don't remember.
I played there -- I was there for four years, and we
didn't play Maryland. I think it was way prior when the
games were played.
Q. When you go back to October and you think
about, I know for a couple of years you wanted to
install the full-court press type of system. But the
buy-in from the players, was that kind of a hard
sale to them? And was there a certain point,
maybe a couple of games in, a couple weeks in
when you saw, you know what, these guys get it.
They're fully committed to this now?
COACH HUGGINS: No, it wasn't a hard sale at all. I
learned most of what I know from my dad. And I can
remember my dad saying, every year he would say, we
have to build our defense from the inside out. Meaning
you have to be sound around the basket. You have to
be sound in the half court, really the quarter court.
And we worked really hard on that. I mean, you could
see we have foot speed.
And we've got guys who can
run and guys who react pretty well. So we knew we
had that. I spent time, talked to a good friend of mine,
Kevin Mackey, who I thought was the best pressure
defensive coach in the country. And my question was
how much do we have to work on, how much time is it
going to take? And he said, Hugs you've got -- you get
to the mid-line. You guys pressure the ball. You've got
people built to run and jump.
And he said I don't think
it's going to take all that long. And so we put it in. And
I had never played like this. We pressed, at Cincinnati
we pressed. And we were probably the best pressing
team in the country in '92 and '93. But it was a
different kind of press. It was three-quarter court. And
different trap areas and those kind of things. So I'm
learning. They're learning as we go.
Q. Maryland has three different players that earned
all Big Ten honors. I'm curious what you think the
key to stopping them and slowing them down is?
COACH HUGGINS: Can you be a little more specific?
Q. So Maryland has Dez Wells, Melo Trimble and
Jake Layman, all who averaged more than 12.5
points. Is there a single guy you key on or is there
a certain philosophy you have to slow down a team
COACH HUGGINS: I don't think you can key on any
one guy. Obviously they bring different things to the
table. Dez is probably as good a penetrator as there is
in the country. I mean, he does a great job getting the
ball to the basket and attacking the rim and putting a lot
of pressure on the rim. And I think Melo is terrific in
transition. I think that's where he really excels is
transition, and getting the game to go at the pace that
Turg wants it to go. He's unflappable. And who was
the other one?
Q. Jake Layman.
COACH HUGGINS: He can shoot it and he can
bounce it. If you can shoot it and you can bounce it. If
you can shoot it and bounce it, you're going to be a
pretty good offensive player. And he does a great job
of they run some clear-outs for him where he can
attack the rim. But he's a guy you can't leave open
because he makes shots. We can't leave them open.
But that kind of goes without saying.
Q. Like you said, your dad -- you didn't say this but
your dad is a legendary coach in the state. But I'm
wondering, at this stage in the season, is it more
about matching intensity as it is physical, because
you're not in this tournament unless you're
physically gifted to be in it? But I'm just
wondering, what is the biggest challenge from one
game to the next?
COACH HUGGINS: I'd say if you have to worry about
intensity, then you've got problems. I mean, who is not
going to be excited to play in the NCAA Tournament?
Who is not going to be excited to play against a team
the quality of Maryland? I don't see intensity being a
problem. I think a lot of it is matchups. It's how you
matchup. If a team does some particular things that
you're not good at, then that gives them the advantage.
And I was hoping we'd get somebody who just hated to
go against the press, and we didn't. But it's been kind
of the story of my career. But, no, this time of the year,
you prepare as best you possibly can and guys go play.
I think the further you go, the more players decide the
Q. Speaking of being excited, Daxter is young and
seems kind of excitable, and he's playing a game I
get the feeling after talking to him he takes a little
bit personally. Do you anticipate any need to
maybe rein him in a little bit or settle him down?
Or do you like that enthusiasm that maybe boils
COACH HUGGINS: He's been that way since he got
here. I think to a large degree, because of Dax and
John Holton, really probably Jevon and the two seniors,
I don't have to go out there and worry about getting
anybody jacked up to play. They like to play. They
enjoy playing. And Dax really enjoys playing. He just
loves basketball. He's like that all the time. He'd be
fired up to play whomever.
Q. Sometimes get too --
COACH HUGGINS: Sometimes he commits fouls
because he kind of overruns things and stuff. But not
Q. I know this is a story you've told before but if
you could indulge me and some people who don't
follow your team quite as much, but when did you
decide to go away from suits on the sidelines and
COACH HUGGINS: Well, why, because I'm not a
banker. Well, when did it start? I used to dress really
nice, by the way. If you all dig up some old pictures,
pretty good looking guy. I don't know who we were
playing, but I was at Cincinnati. And I went in at
halftime and I was soaking wet. I was soaked all
through my shirt, my suit coat, pants and everything
else. And I told the equipment guy, go get me
something to wear and he brought a pullover out. So I
put the pullover on.
And I coached the second in
the pullover, and my athletic director came in said, you
look really good in a pullover. I think that's what
coaches should wear. So I got the green light now. So
I started wearing a pullover. And that worked out pretty
well until I got a new president. And then I found out
my athletic director told the president he told me I
should wear a suit.
And so I'm at the point in my life
now, I'm on the downhill. I've been doing this a long,
long time and I'm going to be comfortable, you know. I
did wear a suit for a little while this year, just because I
don't like people to think they have me figured out. But
that's the only reason. But I didn't wear a tie. But I
wore a bowtie to the Big 12 press conference. If you
come to the Big 12 press conference you never know
what's going to happen out there.
Q. I know you said during the season that part of
what makes you guys difficult to prepare for is that
anybody can step up and score at any given time.
There's been numerous guys who have scored in
double figures this year. With that being said,
Devin he's been great all season but especially
since the Big 12 awards came out, wasn't on the
first, second, third team, he's really stepped up his
game. Is he a guy you could look to as being
maybe the No. 1 scoring option moving forward in
COACH HUGGINS: I don't know. I think Staten's
capable of having a big game. If you look, Jevon Carter has had big games. For that matter, Jaysean
Paige has had big games. Jaysean gets 18 against
Baylor. I don't know that. And I think that's what
makes us hard to prepare for, because I don't -- if I
don't know who is going to score, I doubt very seriously
if the other coach knows who is going to score.
Devin can be a little more consistent than some of
those guys because he's such a terrific offensive
rebounder, and he scores some goals off the offensive
glass, which kind of gives him a little bit more of an
advantage in terms of being a little more consistent
scoring the ball.
Q. I know you've seen a lot of things change about
this basketball tournament -- the conferences, the
media landscape over the past couple of years.
Last night's last game started at 10:50 ended at
1:06 a.m. Is that too late for people to be playing
basketball, for players to be playing basketball?
COACH HUGGINS: Now you've got to remember this,
it's all for the betterment of the student-athlete.
(Laughter) I've heard that. Yeah, it is. It is. But I
mean, what are you going to do? You've got all these
games to cram on TV. And it's going to happen. And
one game runs over a little bit. Here's what I don't
understand. I don't understand in the same bracket
how some people are playing on Thursday and some
are playing on Friday.
So we win or Maryland wins and
you're going to get home probably on Monday. And
you turn around and have to leave again on Tuesday to
play on Thursday, where the team that you're going to
play is playing today, and we're playing late tomorrow,
you know what I mean?
That doesn't make much
sense to me. I'm not sure who did that scheduling. I'm
sure it was TV. Or they had something to do with it.
But I'm just -- it just tickles me to death that we're doing
this for the student-athletes. It's all for the betterment
of the student-athlete.
Q. You've talked about Tarik getting in the gym and
getting up a lot of shots. Was there a time recently
when the light went off and he realized he had to
COACH HUGGINS: Probably when his playing time
went down. Our guys like to play. The one redeeming
quality that all of our guys have is that they really like to
play. And so when their time starts getting cut because
somebody else is playing better, those are the guys
you find in the gym more, the guys that are playing less
because they want to get back in the rotation and they
hear from us all the time. If you want to play more, play
better. It's a pretty simple formula.
How do I get more
time? Play better. What do I have to do? Make a shot
when you're open. Run a ball down, get a rebound.
But I mean it's that simple. And to the question I was
asked earlier, was it hard to convince the guys to play
this way, not at all, because what I said to them was:
Here's the deal. We've got 13 guys that can play that
are going to play. And I could play most of you, if we
play this way. Now, how much you play depends on
And the better you play, the more you're going to
play, obviously. But you can all play. And we can get
everybody in and our five probably not better than most
of people's five, but our 10 is probably better than most
people's 10. If we can play 10, 11, 12 guys, a lot of
times that should be an advantage for us. So that's
kind of what we sell. I had the great fortune of
spending a lot of time around Jerry Tarkanian. And
Tark said, he told his guys, when he had Larry Johnson, he said: Listen, you're all going to get a
piece of pie. But there's just one pie. Pie being playing
time. There's just one pie. And we're going to split that
He said now Larry's going to get a bigger piece
of the pie than the rest of you all, you understand that,
but you're all going to get a piece. And how big a piece
you get depends on how much you deserve. And
that's kind of what it is. There's 40 minutes. There's
40 minutes times five. And you divide that up
according to who deserves the most.
grew up like that, Greg, probably, your mom said
Greg's a good kid, he gets half a pie or Greg wasn't
very good, he's not getting much pie. But seven kids in
the family when I grew up, man, I'm telling you what
now, you didn't want to screw around. There was
about enough food to go around, that was about it.
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