The teams were divided into the coaching staff and the players, and the experience of the former group helped lead to an 8-3 victory. With humorous commentary from Mountaineer Sports Network's Jay Jacobs as the public address announcer, and Staten playing catcher with no prior softball experience, the game was a success, albeit featuring some less-than-stellar performances. Still, the twin goals of fundraising and team bonding were achieved on the pleasant afternoon at Hawley Field.
Staten was available after the game to discuss his offseason, what he learned from being a part of both the Lebron and Nike Skills Academy, and his thoughts on the team thus far.
“I learned a lot about the point guard position,” said Staten of his trip. “As far as being a leader, the way you talk to your teammates, and little tactics to get them to buy into things you need the team to do.”
Staten made sure to point out it was the off the court lessons that has made him a ‘more polished point guard’ for this upcoming season. In terms of cohesion, Staten said the team is a lot closer than in previous years. Even the coaching staff has been preaching camaraderie amongst the players.
“We hang out a lot off the court so when it comes together on the court you can hold guys [more] accountable than we were last year, because we were kind of spread out,” said Staten. “We try to do everything together; we laugh, joke, play, fight, just like a family.”
Competition has been a large part of this offseason, and Staten said he can see that competitive attitude in practice because nobody wants to lose.
“Our open gyms are as competitive as they’ve ever been since I’ve been here,” Staten said. “Nobody wants to step off the court, and that is a good thing because it makes everyone work harder.”
Staten, ever a gym rat, is constantly in the practice facility working on his game. That hasn't been true of all of his teammates in previous offseasons, but Staten has noticed a few players in particular whom have improved due to hard work since the abrupt end of the season last year.
“Devin [Williams] has gotten a lot smarter. He has been working on the things he has to do not so much the things he wants to do. “[Jonathan] Holton is a do it all guy. He is a great rebounder, and does a lot of things well. He can shoot, he can score the ball, and he plays defense.”
Holton, a favorite among players and coaching staff, will have a lot of responsibility this season, according to Staten. He termed the forward a ‘glue guy,’ he keeps the team together on the court, which is going to be important if this team wants to compete for 40 minutes every game.
Game ClipsDevin Williams hits a single off a coaching staff error. Williams was one of the few players who had a hit in the game.
Coach Bob Huggins grounds out to end an inning, but in opposition to the basketball court his emotion does not show on the diamond.