Huggs Hopes New Look Mountaineers Fill Needs

Just as it has had to do the last few seasons, the West Virginia basketball team heads into another offseason looking to fill a lot of major voids on its roster.

The losses of Eron Harris, Terry Henderson and Remi Dibo left WVU head coach Bob Huggins needing to replace close to 45 percent of the team's total scoring from last year.

But the veteran head coach feels confident that with the group of players he has returning and the new faces who will be making their Mountaineer debuts, the Mountaineers are on their way to making sure they can fix the problem areas of the last few seasons.

"We hope that we've got more guys who can bounce it and make plays in the lane," Huggins said. "We didn't score very well with our backs to the basket either. I think we'll be able to bounce it and put more pressure on the defense. But at the same time, you've got to make some perimeter shots to kind of open that up, and I think we can do that. I'm happy with the people we were able to get."

In addition to freshmen Daxter Miles and Jevon Carter coming in, WVU added three junior college additions to replace the three players it lost at the end of the season in guards Tarik Phillip, Jaysean Paige and Billydee Williams.

But any improvements this team makes, it will have to look to senior point guard Juwan Staten to lead the way. The first team all-Big 12 selection appears to be one of the frontrunners for the conference's Player of the Year honors next season, something that Huggins said is a testament to how hard he has been willing to work and learn since he arrived in Morgantown a few seasons ago.

"He's been as good as virtually anybody I've had in the past in terms of trying to learn what we want done," Huggins said. "He's certainly set an example with his work ethic. He lives in the gym, and he doesn't just go in the gym and shoot balls, he goes in and works."

With so many new faces, including the five in the recruiting class and Elijah Macon and Jonathan Holton who sat out last season, having a floor general like Staten who can help settle things down in the heat of the moment will be a big boost for West Virginia in 2014-15.

"I can see this team getting better and better as the season goes on," Huggins said. "We have to have the same kind of selfless attitude that good teams have, but I don't have any indication at this point in time that that's not going to happen.

"All of them bring something different. They're all going to make an impact. We recruited some guys who will be very capable perimeter shooters. We needed to increase our athleticism, and we've certainly done that."

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