6:00pm: Sportsline with Tony Caridi

Still awaiting word from McBride, Huggins says a lot goes into decision

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — One week from Wednesday marks the deadline for an early entry to withdraw his name from the NBA draft and maintain college eligibility.

While West Virginia guards Miles “Deuce” McBride and Sean McNeil have yet to announce their decisions, Mountaineer coach Bob Huggins will know no later than July 7 how his roster stacks up for the upcoming season.

There appears to be a legitimate chance McBride keeps his name in the draft.

“Deuce has been really good,” Huggins said. “He called me last night or the night before and we talked for a while. It was more updating me on his workouts. He had three workouts and he said he’s keeping an open mind and certainly wants to do what’s in his best interest, which I think we’re all on board with.”

Signs point to McNeil returning to West Virginia, though that has yet to be finalized.

“Nothing official on Sean’s decision,” Huggins said.

Earlier this offseason, guard Taz Sherman announced he would return for his second senior season, taking advantage of the free year of eligibility from the NCAA as a result of the pandemic.

West Virginia guard Sean McNeil (22) celebrates a play in the second half against Syracuse in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

During Tuesday’s zoom meeting with the media, Huggins spoke like a coach expecting McNeil and Sherman to continue building off of breakout 2020-2021 seasons, while forming a strong 1-2 scoring punch.

“Those guys were two of the best shooters in our league,” Huggins said. “Those two guys can really get going and make shots and I think both will continue to get better in other areas. We certainly need to pass it better and we need to guard better, but I feel really confident those guys will be able to do that.”

As for McBride, whose stock only seems to have risen from his performance at the NBA Combine, it remains to be seen if he returns for a third season at West Virginia.

The 6-foot-2 guard is projected by some outlets as a late first-round pick.

“Deuce and his family has all this information, we gave them all the information and we were very transparent with things,” Huggins said. “Take for example (former Oklahoma State and current Boston Celtics guard) Marcus Smart. If he had come out after his freshman year, he was projected to make $653,000 a year. He stayed and the next draft year, he made $3.7 million. Those things are things that guys have to take a really hard look at. Where am i going to be in the draft? Who’s on the team that potentially I’ll get drafted by?”

Huggins also noted that because the NBA season starts well before the NBA’s G League season, often times rookies can start at their desired level, before moving down a level.

“Those guys are able to hang on and maybe get a few minutes in the big leagues and then as soon as the other league opens up, you go down there,” Huggins said. “Now you’re in the G League in Canton, Ohio playing in front of 25 people and you go home and turn on the TV and your teammates are playing in front of 14,000 at the Coliseum. There’s a lot of things for 19-and-20-year-olds to think about. Do you go right away? Do you come back and think you can move up?”

Should McBride opt to stay in the draft, it will likely open up an expanded role for Old Dominion transfer Malik Curry.

Over the last two seasons, Curry averaged 13.4 and 15.7 points, respectively, for the Monarchs. He made only 47 three-pointers in 52 games, which Huggins sees as potentially creating a better fit on next season’s Mountaineers.

“He’s really good at attacking the rim and should Deuce not return, we need somebody who can put pressure on the rim,” Huggins said. “Taz and Sean can both score, but they’re not really great at attacking the rim. Malik can really attack the rim and he can get other guys’ shots because of his ability to penetrate. I really like what I saw.”

More Sports

Once new to America and college football, Vesterinen enters senior season understanding his role and responsibilities
April 24, 2024 - 4:49 pm
Huntington native Dawson first portal pickup for new head coach Jackson
Dawson, who played at Huntington Prep and Huntington High, is heading back home for his final season of eligibility after transferring from Akron.
April 24, 2024 - 2:55 pm
Hurricane collects seventh consecutive win, 14-4 over Spring Valley
The Redskins collected 16 hits in their four innings at the plate.
April 24, 2024 - 1:18 am
Redskins use four-run fourth inning to defeat GW, 9-4
Hurricane scored in five of their sixth innings at the plate to collect their 15th victory of the season.
April 24, 2024 - 12:17 am