Good thing he missed those freebies

The most entertaining and most telling part from the final sequence of West Virginia’s win at Baylor Tuesday night was how Juwan Staten handled the possession that ended with his game-winning layup.

Terry Henderson would flash open on the perimeter to Staten’s left with only a few seconds left. Eron Harris would do the same to Staten’s right a couple of seconds after that. Staten never so much as flinched and was intent on taking the final shot because he was so mad about missing two free throws one possession earlier — to say nothing of missing the front end of a one-and-one and contributing to a shot clock violation not long before that.

“I felt like I let the team down missing a couple free throws and felt like I needed to do something,” said Staten, who made a game-winner at home against Virginia Tech last season and missed a game-winner at home against Oklahoma State this season. “I pretty much knew I was the one who was going to take the shot. That was something I’d made up in my mind. I felt like I’d given the game away and it was up to me. I wouldn’t sleep at night if I didn’t do something to win that game.”

He played it perfectly, as did the Mountaineers.

WVU pulled Henderson and Harris out of the paint and onto the perimeter separately, hoping one would get open and a second and bigger Baylor defender would have to jump out to help his teammate defend a potential game-winner from one of WVU’s two perimeter threats.

Henderson was first and Baylor didn’t take the bait. Harris was second, and because of who he is and how little time was left, he drew a crowd. With one less defender inside, Staten hit it and raced from the top of the key down the right side and spun the arms counterclockwise to skip the ball off the glass and in the basket.

He left 3.1 seconds on the clock. Had he left 3.5 seconds, the Mountaineers probably lose because Baylor’s Kenny Cherry threw in a 3-pointer, though just after the buzzer. The Mountaineers won by two points. Staten finished with 15 points, nine assists and four rebounds. He played all 40 minutes, again, and had just one turnover. He also didn’t foul anyone for a second straight game. It’s the sort of overall performance that ought to have people talking and thinking.

I was talking to a scout recently who’d seen WVU play a few times in person. He said he thought Staten would be a really good D-League point guard.

I wonder how much better WVU would be if Staten were the first-chair player. I think this team has an attitude that it’s Harris, and certainly he brings a swagger, a capability, a threat. But it can disappear. And if it isn’t there, then you have to go to Henderson, who is pretty unreliable. Skilled, sure, but not reliable.

Staten is always there and this team is at its best when he’s pushing the peddle to the floor. It changes things and makes an aggressive team out of one that relies a lot on jumpers. I just wonder how much different things would be if he was the one taking 14 shots a game instead of Harris.

Staten’s 14th shot, no lie, was his game-winner.

And the other bit of news to come out Tuesday was the “settlement agreement” between WVU and Mike Parsons. His last day was Monday. His office was empty Tuesday. This has been happening for a while. Like, as far back as back June. And truth be told, probably even before that.

Though Parsons, who it seems changed his representation midstream as he tried to look out for his best interests, kept showing up to work and football and basketball games, those near him came to see he had less and less to do with what had been his daily duties. “I can’t say for sure he was doing anything,” one person told me yesterday.

Obviously, that’s because a lot of what he once did in charge of the Mountaineer Sports Network was being handled by IMG College.

“He eventually realized that function didn’t exist for him anymore,” a source close to Parsons said.

One source told the Daily Mail that WVU is not likely to fill the position of deputy athletic director and could instead add to the athletic department’s administration.

He’ll be paid more than what was due to him through the end of the contract, and, maybe it’s just me, but that’s the right thing to do for a guy who’d been around and who’d been so valuable and so good for a long time.

Sure, Parsons had long been a target for criticism — remember, some of the most revealing parts of the Rich Rodriguez lawsuit were depositions that showed how many WVU boosters and bigwigs wanted for him to be fired —  but a guy like him who has to say “no” is going to be unpopular. I also always thought he was the guy out front for a lot of the bad new Eddie Pastilong had to deliver, too.

I know there’s a lot of chatter about how the Tier 3 thing was the death blow, and certainly there’s something to that because of how he was cut out of the voting process, but in the end I have to think it was as much about WVU no longer having a need for him as it was about Parsons wanting to do stuff again.

Finally, I’m traveling back home today. Scoop & Score is live tomorrow. I’ve got bad news for the bottom of the Big 12 come football season. I don’t quite understand the new rules in college basketball. The The Mighty MJD joins me to talk about, among many things, the Super Bowl. And you won’t believe what happened to me on this road trip. I dare you.

32 Responses to “Good thing he missed those freebies”

  1. hoot says:

    Good riddance Mike Parsons….from a purely professional standpoint, he did far more damage to the University than most people realize in areas involving MSN radio, failure to capitalize on the WVU brand, and just plain veracity. There are reasons so many people wanted him fired. Thank you Oliver Luck.

  2. hoot says:

    Almost forgot…I want to revisit a question Mike asked a few games back
    (actually, it seems longer than that)…is this now Juwan Staten’s team?
    I’d say he has made a case for being the one guy we probably can’t win without. I
    love to watch a good point guard , and we have a dandy.

  3. Parks says:

    I think Parsons had some really good ideas (a lot of bad ones too) but the people he had surrounding him for a lot of his years with the university and the deals they struck pretty much doomed him. Unfortunately, he fought for his precious product to not evolve or change much. I think ultimately that’s what did him in as far as the public is concerned. MSN was a great idea and university-ran multimedia can be successful if done right but through the years it became apparent that things weren’t being done right and they weren’t going to be allowed to be done right. I’m not going to go out and celebrate that he’s gone but I’m not going to really miss him either. He’s been a bystander for many years now anyways.

  4. jtmountaineer says:

    “It’s a shame Huggins can’t recruit or coach guards.”
    –people not commenting this season

  5. Parks says:

    JT–I’m not sure they’re not commenting, but that song definitely isn’t being sung..

    Imagine what will happen if Tricket gets the job this fall and throws for 4,000 yards. Hell, then I’ll have to rescend what I said all of this past season.

  6. JP says:

    If Trickett throws for 4000 yards this year, Dana deserves a medal.

  7. Parks says:

    For the record, I in no way, shape or form think that Trickett will throw for that many yards. I’m skeptical of whether he’ll even start.

  8. The 25314 says:

    It’s sucks that you can’t fire anyone anymore. Parsons was actively subversive of his boss, perhaps to the point of insubordination. Yet, he gets paid more to leave than if he were to stay.

    He refused to even consider outsourcing media rights. It was all about him, not the University.

    Who handles media rights is not a right or wrong issue on which you have the moral responsibility to stand your ground. We’re talking about a business decision. Yes, you can have your opinion, but once your boss makes the decision, it’s your responsibility to accept the decision and do your best under the new paradigm. Not leak information, and wage a war against your employer. Instead, Parsons, like Kerin and Stewart before him, acts like he’s entitled to his job. He wants to be painted as a wronged loyal Mountaineer. And he was loyal…as long as he had unquestioned and unchecked absolute control.

  9. Bill says:

    Well stated 25314

  10. Mack says:

    If Trickett stays healthy and starts all 12 games, he will throw for over 4,000 yards.

    Our quarterbacks combined for over 3,000 yards last year.

  11. Parks says:

    “If Trickett stays healthy and starts all 12 games”

    I’m thinking thats not going to happen. Not sure which part is more likely, but I don’t think he can start 12 games AND stay healthy. Again though, I’m not sure he starts. I don’t trust that his body will be healed from last season and for some reason I just think someone else is going to get it. It’s mostly a gut feeling, but if Howard can come in and learn the playbook before Spring drills start, he’s going to get a long, hard look..

  12. Kevin says:

    I’ll take the under on Trickett. Him playing all 12 games to the side, 4,000 yards in 12 games would mean he would need to average 333 yards per game against a much tougher schedule… I just don’t see it.

  13. Karl says:

    Interesting comments here on Parsons. I can’t say I was ever very aware of him or his work. But in retrospect, I remember reading a series of almost dueling articles/columns by various beat writers either expounding on the awesomeness of the in-house MSN model or writing it off as a money loser. Was this the last stand of a guy planting stories in the papers for his own self preservation, a la Bill “can you get the word ’scumbag’ tattooed on the front of the sports page” Stewart?

  14. Mack says:

    “I just think someone else is going to get it. It’s mostly a gut feeling, but if Howard can come in and learn the playbook before Spring drills start, he’s going to get a long, hard look..”

    Crest won’t be on campus until August, so he’s very likely to redshirt. That means the options are Howard, Millard, and Trickett. I know it’s January so we all think that miracles can happen, but that’s it. It’s going to be one of the three. Trickett’s credentials coming into WVU were certainly as good as Howard’s . . . so I’m not sure why anyone would think Howard is going to be the savior. Millard is not very good. It seems pretty clear to me that Trickett is going to be the guy if healthy. If Skyler is the guy, it more than likely means that Trickett is injured than Skyler beat him out for the job.

  15. Mack says:

    Howard seems to be more comparable to Millard than Trickett. Millard basically walked on at WVU until WVU freed a scholarship up for him. No other FBS schools offered Millard. Isn’t that the case for Howard also? He was a JUCO and WVU was the only FBS that offered him, if I’m not mistaken.

  16. Parks says:

    Mack–I never said Howard would be the savior. I said I feel as though he’ll be the starter. Not one bit of it is attributed to what he can do. I’ve only seen his highlight tape. It has everything to do with Trickett. I don’t even put Millard into this discussion. Nice kid, but if he starts against Alabama, we’re in for a hell of a year. I like what I saw in Howard’s highlights, but they’re that..highlights. We will need to revisit this in a few months after we’ve seen some things from Howard. I really think he starts game 1 because he’ll be the only one healthy AND capable enough. As for Crest, I really do like what he brings but you’re right, he’ll red shirt. Or at least he should. I think he’s the future right now though. Or at least the the planned future.

  17. Kevin says:

    I agree with you guys that Crest will redshirt. I can’t really speak to Howard’s bonafide’s, but his resume combined with Trickett’s experience make me think Trickett will be the starter on opening day. That said, I think Trickett can be serviceable and even effective. I just don’t see 4,000 yards.

    Did you guys see Athlon’s very early Big 12 prediction that WVU would be 9th next year? As Mack is so fond of saying, it doesn’t matter but it is January.

  18. Spatial Angel says:

    After what we’ve seen of the returnees, it’s easy to be hoping for Howard. but all we know about him is that he was essentially un-recruited.

    Staten’s improvement this year is large. If only he can get his team mates to follow his lead this summer.

  19. Mack says:

    I actually thought Trickett was pretty good in the first few games he played last year. The only times I thought he was BAD were the games when he was getting his teeth knocked in. If Trickett stays healthy, I actually think he’s good enough for WVU to win seven games with. He’s not going to go down as a great quarterback in WVU’s history, but he’s good enough to bridge the gap until the next one shows up.

  20. Mack says:

    And not to criticize anyone who is hoping for Howard . . . I just think it’s a tremendous longshot that Howard will be any good at all. This is based on his not being recruited by anyone. Being 6’0” doesn’t excite me a whole lot either.

  21. Spatial Angel says:

    Mack…Russell Wilson would like a word with you.

  22. Mack says:

    Finally, I think there are a few more reasons to be optimistic in 2014 than there were in 2013. Last year, we didn’t know a single meaningful player’s name going into the season. In 2014, we know that the defense is capable of being competitive – maybe even good – if it stays healthy. Remember, going into 2013, we were operating under the assumption that “it can’t be any worse than it was in 2012.” Also, in 2014, we know that Mario Alford is capable of catching short slants and taking them to the house and we’re hoping that Shell will be a big time running back and Shelton Gibson will be a big time receiver. If those all work out, that’s a lot of pieces to have toward having a solid offense.

    At the very least, it’s certainly a foundation that could lead to an actual GOOD team in 2015.

  23. Mack says:

    Name a better point guard in WVU’s history than Juwan Staten. You can’t.

  24. Parks says:

    Mike- did you see that West Ham and Chelsea game today? The last minute of extra time was insane! West really needed that point but I didn’t see them getting it. Great match.

  25. EER81 says:

    Mack, arguably Greg Jones or Lowes Moore, but Juwan has the rest of this year and next.

  26. ffejbboc says:

    I liked Steve Berger an awful lot as a PG.

    Marsalis Basey wasn’t too bad but is not quite in the same league as Staten, Greg Jones or Berger.

    Wasn’t Lowes Moore a SG?

  27. Drew says:

    Strange how this turned into such a foot heavy discussion.

    This is Staten’s team. The more that is embraced, the farther these guys will go. He is relentless. His improvement, more mentally than anything else, has been fun to see.

    Howard is a hail mary. Slim chance, but if it works – a good mobile quarterback could be huge for this team. I think this program needs a mobile QB. I think Dana has seen what Geno did with his feet, what Manziel did in a similar offense, and with the perpetual talent gap between us and the top of the Big 12, you need things to level the playing field.

    Also, I’m really hoping to see Alford used in creative ways.

  28. Drew says:

    Football not foot.

  29. Parks says:

    Drew–this has been the week to go off topic. Keeps the debate lively and the conversations flowing though. Makes these long work days go by much faster!

    I agree with everything you said as well.

  30. I love you, Doug! says:

    Holman Harley!

  31. SheikYbuti says:

    I agree. No one was better than Harley on a breakaway at bouncing the ball hard off the floor for a spectacular dunk, missing the dunk, and thereby single-handedly blowing an NCAA tournament game.

  32. I love you, Doug! says:

    See? He’s memorable!