Two years ago in Orlando, West Virginia trailed Missouri by 16 with roughly eight minutes to go in a semifinal game of the Advocare Invitational. The lead seemed insurmountable, but the team never stopped playing, thanks to the leadership and effort of senior guard Jevon Carter.
Carter led the Mountaineers with 29 points and added four steals, three assists and four rebounds to cap off the comeback and win by a final score of 83-79.
Last night, something very similar transpired.
True freshman guard Miles "Deuce" McBride took control of the game as West Virginia trailed Northern Iowa by 15 with about seven minutes remaining. His hot hand on the offensive end and his tenacious defense helped deliver a comeback victory in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge. McBride led all Mountaineers in scoring (18), assists (5) and blocks (2), yes... blocks. One of those blocks came at a critical point of the game as Northern Iowa led by one with only 43 seconds remaining. The blocked shot set up West Virginia to finish out the game on a 6-0 run to win the game.
With guys like Derek Culver and Oscar Tshiebwe, it's easy to forget about a young unknown rising star like McBride. In the not too distant future, that will no longer be the case. McBride is showing signs of development at a fast rate, which only bodes well for Bob Huggins and the Mountaineers.
Can McBride be a go-to guy this early in his career for the Mountaineers? Normally, one would say, "no, he's too young," but I find myself truly believing that he can step up into that role. As talented as Tshiebwe and Culver are, neither are as good of a two-way player as McBride. Culver still needs to fine tune some things on both ends of the floor, as does Tshiebwe. McBride's presence on the floor isn't just important for his ability to make shots or to play smothering defense, but it's crucial for Bob Huggins to have a guy on the floor that can handle the ball and not turn it over. In five games, he's only tuned it over five times and three of those turnovers came in the first game of the season vs Akron.
Although it might be hard for McBride to duplicate the success that Jevon Carter brought to the program, he certainly has the ability to become a staple of the Mountaineers success over the next four years.