Staton muscles his way onto Muskingum roster

Published 12:11 am Thursday, June 1, 2023

St, Joseph Flyers’ senior basketball standout Hunter Staton signed a letter-of-intent to play for the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies. Attending the signing ceremony were: seated left to right, grandfather Michael Staton, father Mike Staton, Hunter, mother Crystal Staton and grandmother Leisa Wireman. (Tim Gearhart sports photo for The Ironton Tribune)

By Jim Walker

Size does matter but so does muscle.

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Adding muscle to his 6-foot-4 frame has been helpful to Hunter Staton. And that extra help has enabled the St. Joseph Flyers senior basketball standout to sign a letter-of-intent to play for the Muskingum University Fighting Muskies.

Staton has always been a perimeter shooter who can play inside. He said adding bulk has been important to his game.

Hunter Staton

“I don’t have a lot of spare time with basketball and school, but I like to lift a lot (of weights). I’m really into bodybuilding,” said Staton. “It’s really helped me a lot. It’s helped me be more physical inside and helped catch coaches’ eyes.”

Former Flyers’ head coach Jacob Wells said the added muscle has made a noticeable difference in Staton’s game.

“I think he’ll be able to stretch the floor for them. At 6-4, his frame is not just 6-4. He’s got some meat and muscle that will allow him to bang around at the college level. I think that will benefit him more than anybody knows,” said Wells.

Staton looked at several other school that included Marietta and Division 2 Wesleyan Christian but opted for the Fighting Muskies for various reasons including head coach Nathan Wahle.

“I really liked the campus. I really liked the team. I got along with them really well. I really like the coach. He’s young and he kind of understands a little bit more,” said Staton.

Staton transferred to St. Joseph for his senior season and earned All-Southern Ohio Conference honors along with being named to the Basketball Coaches District 13 All-Star team.

Wells said he has coached Staton during his earlier playing days at Coal Grove.

“I’ve been around Hunter going on six or seven years and each year he’s grown tremendously not only as a player but as a long man,” said Wells.

“This is why you coach at the high school level. You want to see your kids get to the next level.  I’m thankful to have had the privilege to coach Hunter and I look forward to him doing great things at Muskingum.”

Staton said he enjoyed his time at St. Joseph despite being just one season.

“It was different. A different team, a different coach, but it was pretty good. I loved the guys, I loved the coaches, and I loved the school, too. It’s pretty nice,” said Staton who play wing and center for the Flyers.

Muskingum is planning on utilizing Staton in a similar role. He sees a lot of similarities playing in another new environment.

“They’re hard working. Hey have really nice facilities,” said Staton. “I’ve been doing some of the workouts they’ve sent me. They just want me to work on my shot and be a shooter for the team.”

“They want me to play a combo guard, like a wing. I’d like to play both inside and outside. But it’s whatever I’m feeling in the game and whatever they need me to do,” said Staton.

Staton played baseball and he also has played football and ran track. But he began playing basketball in kindergarten and he has always leaned toward the sport as his first love.

“It’s just something me and my dad got into and he always loved basketball and he was my coach. It was something we really got into it together.”

Staton said he has some simple goals for the college level.

“I just want to bring the team some success and maybe win a couple of conference titles,” said Staton who plans to major in pre-physical therapy.