MORGANTOWN — The rest of the EIN National all-stars sat on the bench prior to Sunday’s Scott Brown Classic at University High, but two stood under the basket having a friendly conversation about what lies ahead.
Miles “Deuce” McBride and Oscar Tshiebwe teamed up for the first time and it will not be the last as the West Virginia signees wrap up their high school all-star circuit before enrolling at WVU in early June.
Tshiebwe, who came to Morgantown immediately after spending most of last week in Portland, Ore., at the NIKE Hoop Summit, was the first between he and McBride to play in the Scott Brown Classic. When McBride heard the 6-foot-9, 250-pound McDonald’s All-American would be there, it was an opportunity he didn’t want to pass up.
“I love being in Morgantown, and once I heard Oscar was going to play, I felt like I definitely had to make the drive up,” McBride said.
It’s been a busy few days for McBride, also. He played in the Ohio-Kentucky All-Star Game on Saturday before making the five-hour drive to West Virginia. He didn’t appear to have any lag, finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds and two assists in EIN’s 106-104 win over Mid State Automotive.
With other future teammates Jordan McCabe, Emmitt Matthews Jr. and Taevon Horton in attendance, Tshiebwe was named MVP after a 35-point, 17-rebound performance. He also had three steals, three blocks and two assists.
As WVU’s first 5-star recruit in over a decade, especially with the Mountaineers coming off a disappointing 15-21 season, Tshiebwe is excited to get to campus, which he expects will be soon after his graduation in May.
“I’m going to come up here to help with the team and I’m really going to try and stay focused,” he said. “I know this team is good — they started bad and ended good, but they need more energy and need somebody who can bring energy to the team.
“That’s me. I can bring all of that stuff by bringing energy, working hard and bringing the team together. I think next year, we’re going to be amazing.”
Tshiebwe said the WVU coaching staff wants him to play power forward, so he’s trying to expand his game from the inside out. He’s worked to improve his jump shot and 3-point shot because ever since he started playing organized basketball, coaches wanted him to play center since he was so much taller than everyone else.
Having more of an outside game is something Tshiebwe thinks can put him over the top.
“I’ve been in the gym shooting 300 shots a day, making 15-footers and some 3-point a little bit,” he said. “I’m getting better. Coach [Bob Huggins] showed me some power forward stuff that I need to work on. He said once I got to campus, he was going to work with me. I’ve always wanted to play forward but now I’m finally getting to.”
McBride, at 6-foot-2 and 185 pounds, will be asked to be versatile in the backcourt. The Mountaineers received a commitment from juco guard Sean McNeil on Sunday, but they are expected to add other juco and grad transfers. Including McNeil and McBride, WVU will have six scholarship guards next season as of now.
“They said I would play [point] and [shooting guard] — if they need me to bring the ball up, I can bring the ball up, or I can be the off guard if they need me to,” McBride said.
Regardless of where each plays, Tshiebwe is certain it will work out for both of them.
“I really enjoyed playing with him, and I think next year, we’re going to be amazing,” he said.
Best of the rest
Tshiebwe’s Kennedy Catholic teammate Mattia Acunzo finished with 13 points, one of his last performances before heading to Toledo for his college career.
Chapmanville’s Devin Collins was the only other double-digit scorer for EIN, coached by UHS’s Joe Schmidle. Collins finished with 12 points.
UHS’s Rodney Bucklew had eight points and five rebounds, while Morgantown’s Cam Selders had four points, including a slashing dunk in the first half. Trinity’s Joel Robertson was scoreless, but had a rebound and an assist.
For Mid State Auto, Huntington Prep’s Mike Dawson, who is committed to Akron, led the team with 28 points and eight rebounds. HP teammate Louisville signee Quinn Slazinski and Teays Valley Christian’s Steven Verplancken each had 13 points, while TV’s Mason Shifflett had 12.
Fairmont Senior’s Dasilas Jones had six points.
Prior to the game, Woodrow Wilson’s Bryce Radford won the 3-point shootout, making 16 in the final round. Tshiebwe won the dunk contest by holding two balls, throwing one off the backboard, catching it, and dunking both balls.