Chip Shots – Deuce to NBA?

Deuce to NBA?

by Jim Buzzerd

Last week we talked about possible attrition of the West Virginia University basketball team. This week there is more to add to the discussion.

We knew juniors Jordan McCabe and Emmitt Matthews were in the transfer portal and would not return for their senior seasons. I have not seen any news on Matthews’ destination, but McCabe has found a home in Las Vegas at UNLV. We knew Taz Sherman and Sean McNeil were entering the NBA draft evaluation process. McNeil is a junior and Sherman is a senior with the option available to return. You can add sophomore Miles McBride as another Mountaineer entering the NBA draft process. Of those three, McBride is most likely to get the highest evaluation. It’s anybody’s guess as to just how good that evaluation will be, but current projections consider him a second-round pick. McBride is the No. 35 prospect in the ESPN 100 NBA Draft rankings.

Many of those who do this projecting indicate McBride could elevate to a first rounder in another season. Then again, who’s to say he won’t wow the scouts this spring. As of now McBride has not hired an agent to maintain his eligibility to return for his junior season. When McBride announced his intentions last week some info from reliable sources appeared on message boards that it was McBride’s intention to return.

Several days later there was chatter that McBride’s thinking had changed and his return was unlikely. That’s the internet for you. As of Monday evening, there was not news of McBride hiring an agent, so that’s good news if you’re a WVU fan. Personally, I’m a little nervous about this one.

Senior Gabe Osabuohien announced last week that he intends to return for another season which the NCAA is allowing this year due to COVID. Osabuohien has some of the worst shooting skills you’ll see for a Power Five basketball player, but he can change the game with other things he does.

“It’s hard for most people to appreciate everything he does,” WVU coach Bob Huggins said moments after this year’s season-ending loss to Syracuse. “He keeps balls alive for us and he stops penetration. We’ve had a hard time all year staying in front of our man and Gabe really does a great job stopping penetration. He’s the key to our defense and he’s our last resort. We’re not near as good of a basketball team without him.”

Osabuohien made his announcement on a podcast with former Mountaineer John Flowers. “First off, I did lose my senior night. I can’t go out like that,” Osabuohien said. “And just the way we went out in the tournament, it’s unfinished business. We have a whole year to come back, get better, add more pieces that we need and work with the pieces we have now and do something special. Unfinished business, so I’m coming back for sure.”

Sounds like Gabe is thinking the three draft explorers are returning.