West Virginia fans are certainly aware of how talented Miles McBride is, but the young guard’s college success was not always guaranteed.
McBride was ranked as just the No. 301 prospect in the 2019 recruiting class. After a freshman season where he was third on the team with 9.5 points per game, however, others are starting to think more highly of him.
David Cobb of CBS Sports just listed McBride among 10 freshmen who exceeded expectations in their first seasons.
College hoops isn't all about the 5-stars/one-and-dones. Here are 10 unheralded freshmen — all ranked No. 200 or below in their class and some not ranked at all — who made an impact on college basketball this season.https://t.co/OGXaBjBvO4
— David Cobb (@DavidWCobb) March 30, 2020
Cobb notes how West Virginia was McBride’s only power conference offer coming out of Arch Bishop High School in Cincinnati and how his play as a freshman validated WVU coach Bob Huggins’s belief in him.
McBride was highly productive off of WVU’s bench this year. He averaged 9.5 points on 40.2% shooting, the best among primarily perimeter players. He also made 24 three-pointers on 30.4%, both third-best on the team.
McBride’s first big performance of the season came in the team’s first game in Mexico for the Cancun Challenge against Northern Iowa. The Panthers built up a 15-points lead on the Mountaineers in the second half, but McBride’s game-high 18 points helped led WVU to the victory.
From Dec. 14 through Jan. 29, McBride scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games. The only one he did not score in double digits, he only played 16 minutes and still scored nine. In that stretch, McBride averaged 13.4 points and shot 50% from the floor.
Near the beginning of that run was a 21-point performance in WVU’s upset of then-No. 2 Ohio State.
From there, McBride hit a bit of a freshman wall, scoring double-digit points just once in the team’s next eight games. In that time he averaged 5.9 points on 30.6% shooting.
He closed out the season strong, however, scoring 13, 17 and 12 points in the team’s final three games.
As Cobb points out, both McBride prospect ranking and role as a freshman closely match those of WVU great Jevon Carter, who was the No. 299 player in his class and came off the bench in his first season.
If he can grow into a Carter-type player has yet to be seen, but his freshman season at least showed he is better than his No. 301 ranking.