After losing seven of eight, Baylor has bounced back to win three straight games in Big12 play. With the Bears coming to town, West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins knows exactly the reason Baylor is rejuvenated.
Huggins (left) and his team will need another big win this Saturday.
“(Guard Kenny) Chery. I don’t think there’s any doubt,” said Huggins, of the guard who put together a triple-double in a win over Kansas State last week. “He started out playing really well, and then he got hurt and didn’t play quite as well for a stretch. Now he’s starting to play well again. When he’s playing really well, they’re really good.”
Even with much of the nation’s focus on big men Cory Jefferson and Isaiah Austin, and sharpshooting guard Brady Heslip, Huggins insists it is Chery that makes Baylor tick.
“I think (the bigs) have been pretty consistent. I think when Kenny Chery plays, you can’t give help, so they get iso(lated),” said Huggins. “All three of those guys are talented guys, but I think when Chery plays really well, that takes some of the focus off of those bigs.”
For West Virginia, there are no questions about who the leader of the team is, either. That would be junior guard Juwan Staten, who leads the team in points and assists, and is second in rebounding. He was recently named a finalist for the Bob Cousy Award which goes to the nation’s top point guard.
“I think it’s a great honor and I think he deserves it,” said Huggs. “I don’t watch as much basketball as a lot of people because I don’t have time to, but I don’t know of anyone who is playing at as high of a level as he is right now.”
As Huggins has expressed throughout the year, much of his success this season comes from the work he put in during the offseason.
“He’s definitely gotten better and better. He’s put time in,” he said. “He studies and he knows what areas we can attack because he studies the film. He’s shooting the ball better. He’s put an enormous amount of time in.”
Huggins hopes that Staten can help rally the team this weekend, as the Mountaineers are at another crossroads in their season.
“We got to win games. It’s no secret,” he said. “We won some games and we got ourselves back in the hunt (for the NCAA Tournament) and then we didn’t play very well at Texas. Now we’ve got to win games. I don’t think it’s any secret we put ourselves behind the eight ball.”