The news so many West Virginia fans were dreading finally came down last night, star point guard Miles “Deuce” McBride will keep his name in the NBA Draft and not return to WVU in the fall.
That means the Mountaineers will lose both of their top scorers from last season, with forward Derek Culver also turning pro, and leaves the team paper-thin at point guard since backup Jordan McCabe transferred to UNLV.
WVU coach Bob Huggins has been doing this a long time, however, and acted fast this offseason to sure up his backcourt. Shortly after McCabe entered the transfer portal, Huggins brought in his own transfer, Malik Curry, a senior point guard from Old Dominion. Speaking with the media on Wednesday, Huggins made it clear he saw Curry as someone who can fill McBride’s role.
“He’s really good at attacking the rim,” Huggins said. “Should Deuce not return, we need somebody who can put pressure on the rim. Taz [Sherman] and Sean [McNeil] can both score, but they’re not really great at attacking the rim, Malik can really attack the rim.”
A former junior college transfer, Curry started every game during his two years with the Monarchs. He led ODU in scoring both years, averaging 13.4 points in 2019-20 and 15.7 in 2020-21.
“I think he’s a guy who can get other guys shots because of his ability to penetrate,” Huggins said. “I really liked what I saw.”
Outside of 3-point shooting, Curry’s numbers from last season match up well with McBride. McBride shot 43.1%, Curry 49.7%; McBride averaged 4.8 assists and 2.0 turnovers, Curry 3.6 and 3.0; McBride averaged 3.9 rebounds, Curry 3.7. Curry only shot 32.8% on 3-pointers, compared to McBride’s 41.4%.
Without McBride, WVU will have six guards on its roster next season, with four seniors; Curry, Sherman, McNeil and Kedrian Johnson. Johnson, another former JUCO transfer, will likely be Curry’s primary backup at point guard. He played in 26 games last season, averaging 1.3 points in 7.4 minutes.
Incoming freshmen Kobe Johnson and Seth Wilson are also guards, but Huggins said they will probably redshirt this season.
“I thought that the best thing we did for [Jalen Bridges] was redshirt him for a year and not play him,” Huggins said. “That’s probably going to be what we do with the two freshmen. Let’s bring them in and let them grow up, let them play against grown men.”
McNeil also has his name in the NBA Draft process. The deadline to withdraw and retain college eligibility is July 7.