- Eamonn Brennan, ESPN Staff Writer
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Penn State needed Juwan Staten. The talented Dayton transfer didn't exactly live up to his prep years hype for the Flyers -- and he burned a few bridges in Dayton in doing so -- but Staten did qualify as one of the most talented gets of the Ed DeChellis era at a time when the best player in school history, Talor Battle, was graduating after a brilliant four-year career and his half-brother, guard Taron Buie, had been dismissed for violations of team rules.
Staten wasn't going to make Penn State a Big Ten contender. But he was the best chance the Nittany Lions had at avoiding a total fall into rebuilding irrelevancy.
As we know now, Staten's transfer alone wasn't enough to keep DeChellis in State College, Pa. Indeed, DeChellis took his talents to Navy, reading the tea leaves of an eventual dismissal and getting to the next gig -- albeit one far less prestigious -- before those premonitions came true. And, in doing so, indicted the Penn State hoops program as a whole. (Seriously? Navy?)
So what about Juwan Staten? Does he like Penn State so much he's willing to stick around and play for the Nittany Lions's new hire?
Apparently not. Last night, Staten tweeted:
According to his father, Bill Staten, who spoke with the National Hoops Report, Juwan is indeed interested in moving on. According to Bill Staten, Penn State will entertain calls from other schools about Juwan's status. More than anything, the Statens don't seem remotely interested in waiting for the product of Penn State's coaching search to emerge:
“We’re just stunned by it,” Mr. Staten said of the news on Monday afternoon. “Juwan picked Penn State because it is a guard-friendly style of play and Ed DeChillis is a guard-friendly coach. That’s what enticed Juwan to go there.
[...] “With a new coach, you just don’t know their system. Coaches all see players differently. One may see one thing, another may see something else. For Juwan, he was already going to have to sit out an entire year. I don’t know if he wants any more time wasted. There could be opportunities that dry up if we decide to wait. He learned that the hard way when he committed to Dayton out of high school,” Mr. Staten said.
Penn State already faced an uphill battle in filling DeChellis' position. If we've seen one trend this offseason, it's that coaches aren't necessarily eager to jump to schools just because those schools offer high-major programs with (ostensible) cash-flow. Plenty of attractive coaching prospects turned down far more enticing offers than the one Penn State will be making to its candidates in the next few days.
Staten's decision only makes Penn State's climb steeper. This would have been a rebuilding project no matter what, but at least there would have been some established talent -- the No. 12-ranked point guard in the class of 2010 and a one-year starter as a freshman -- to build on. Without Staten, the Nittany Lions are in a deep talent hole, the kind you don't climb out of for years to come. Rough week, huh?