West Virginia has Chemistry On and Off the Court


There are many evident differences in head coach Bob Huggins’ West Virginia team from last season to now.

With a 14-1 overall record and a 2-0 start in conference play, WVU is off to its best start since the Final Four team of 2009 -10.

The Mountaineers appear to be comfortable with each other and it’s translating to the hardwood. Even during the preseason Huggins stressed how motivated his team was heading into this season. On countless occasions WVU’s head coach referred to his bunch as a “good group of guys.”

Senior, guard Juwan Staten whose experienced the disarrays of seasons past, said this team enjoys each others company and it’s helped them win.

“Goofy, goofy guys,” said Staten when asked what it was like being on the road with his teammates. “It’s jokes all day. It’s laughing all the time. Sometimes coach gets a little made at us because we don’t know when to cut it off.”

While the jokes and laughter may sometimes lead Huggins to play babysitter, he said it’s fine to have a group of guys who can be comfortable around one another.

“They are loose, which is good,” said Huggins. “My Final Four team in ’92, they were the loosest bunch of guys you’ve ever seen. They were singing The Temptations on the way to play Michigan in the Final Four.”

“That’s fine as long as you can separate that from stepping between the lines of being silly and goofy.”

Freshman, guard Daxter Miles Jr. is wearing the old gold and blue for the first time, but claims to have kept tabs on the Mountaineers last season. He explained that the biggest difference from this team and last season’s is chemistry and that everything is a competition amongst them.

Jan 3, 2015; Fort Worth, TX, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers guard Daxter Miles Jr. (4) walks off the court after the win over the TCU Horned Frogs at the Wilkerson-Greines Athletic Center. The Mountaineers defeated the Horned Frogs 78-67. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

“We’re a silly group,” said Miles. “On the floor we love to compete, off the floor we love to compete. It’s always competition with us.”

Miles said the team will compete against each other in just about anything from getting a spot on a crowded elevator to who can be the first person to board the bus.

“It’s little things,” Miles added. “Everything is a competition, but it’s fun. I like it, we’re a good group.”

During the preseason, the team spent a lot of time doing activities together. Activities that included paintball, going inside a West Virginia mine and softball games against coaches. The team bonded early and it’s clearly continued.

Whether it’s the talent that Huggins’ team boasts, the fact that they gel on and off the floor or the combination of the two, the Mountaineers have established themselves as legitimate contenders in the Big 12 and the nation (currently ranked 14).

“We treat our team like a family,” said Staten. “We keep each other close, we don’t let outside distractions effect our team.”