Between the departure of assistant coach Lewis Preston for the Kennesaw State head coaching position on Wednesday and the release of guard Taran Buie from his scholarship on Monday, Penn State basketball didn't exactly have itself a banner week going. That was, until Friday night when ex-Dayton guard Juwan Staten announced via Twitter than he intends to transfer to Penn State.
This is very big news for the Nittany Lions. Staten, a freshman with the Flyers this past season, was ranked a four-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout coming out of the prestigious Oak Hill Academy for recruiting class 2010. He received a scout's grade of 94 and was named to ESPNU's top 100 recruits in that group as well.
The 6'0," 160-pound guard averaged 8.5 points, 5.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds for Dayton in 2010-2011. He scored double figures in six of his last 11 games there and was the third leading scorer on a Flyer team that fell to the College of Charleston as a three seed in the first round of the 2011 NIT.
In late March, Staten announced he was leaving Dayton, citing a bad fit with the program.
"I like coach (Brian) Gregory as a person. I respect him. But I just don’t feel like I got any better this year," Staten said. "I don’t feel like I could reach my full potential if I stayed at Dayton.
The Flyers' loss will be Penn State's gain, however. SB Nation Seton Hall blog South Orange Juice broke Staten's game down this way in December.
One of ESPN's Top 100 recruits in this past year's class, Staten has taken over the starting role right away. The Dayton native is averaging 8.4 PTS/7AST as the Flyers' primary playmaker. He is first in the nation in assist rate (according to Ken Pomeroy) at a shocking 51.9, meaning he gets an assist on almost 52% of the possessions that he is on the court. This kid looks to make plays and find his teammates for baskets. One area in which he struggles is shooting the ball, including from deep and the free throw line
Staten finished the year ranked 10th nationally in assist rate according to Pomeroy at 39.8. He also finished among the nation's best in fewest fouls per 40 minutes of play at 2.2, good for No. 220 in the country. Staten does have some key weaknesses, though, as SOJ notes. He struggles from the perimeter, hitting at just over 15% this past year at Dayton, and barely broke 60% from the free throw line at 60.4.
There's time for him to grow in those departments, though. Staten will likely have to sit out 2011-2012 per the transfer rules, so he'll have plenty of time to focus on his game in preparation for what's shaping up to be an interesting 2013-2012 campaign, when he'll join an already talented back court that will likely include Tim Frazier and signee Trey Lewis, also out of Ohio.
For what it's worth, Staten was a more highly regarded prospect than the departed Buie and had, by far, more success in his freshman campaign. If you were disappointed to see Buie leave, you should be equally, if not more excited to see Ed DeChellis and the staff land this talented guard. He's the type of player Penn State hasn't even come close to attracting in a long, long time and certainly not without the crutch of offering a chance to play with big brother Talor Battle.
Here's a look at one of Staten's best highlights from Dayton...
...and here are a few more absurdly slow-motion cuts...
Finally, we have some serious ankle-breaking from Staten while he was still at Oak Hill.