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West Virginia guard Miles McBride is grateful to play in the NCAA Tournament

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Posted at 2:14 PM, Mar 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-18 14:45:44-04

CINCINNATI — Miles McBride grew up always wanting the opportunity to participate in March Madness.

That time has arrived this week for the West Virginia University sophomore guard and 2019 Moeller High School graduate - albeit under very unique circumstances.

The NCAA tournament is being played entirely in Indiana during the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, McBride, nicknamed "Deuce" is making the most of the time in helping to prepare his teammates for a first-round game against Morehead State Friday night (9:50 p.m. tipoff) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

"I was so talking with some of my teammates and I guess the closest feeling I get to it, it's kind of like an elite AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) tournament where you got a bunch of big names and a bunch of guys that can really play," McBride told reporters Wednesday.

"We've got the best teams, the best players in America all in one place. And I think it's unique with a tournament like this because we all are together in a sense. You pass by a bunch of different teams that in regular tournaments you wouldn't have a chance to even see. You would just see them on TV and things like that. So I think it's just an exciting feeling just to be in the presence of some of the best basketball players in America."

McBride admitted there wasn't a ton to do besides watch basketball when he arrived in Indianapolis earlier this week as players stayed in their rooms awaiting COVID-19 test results.

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West Virginia players received clearance to leave their room and their floor on Wednesday morning.

Prior to that, McBride watched an NBA game Tuesday night as his former Moeller High School teammate Jaxson Hayes played for the New Orleans Pelicans against the Portland Trail Blazers.

McBride doesn't play video games, but he did work on his academic assignments and read a book about the late Georgetown University coach John Thompson.

There has also been plenty of film study. The Mountaineers (18-9) conducted a Tuesday night practice in order to simulate a late start this Friday night. McBride didn't seem to mind the wait.

"Honestly, I'm just happy to be here," McBride said. "Obviously not being able to play in the tournament last year - I think that hurt everybody being involved. The people here are doing a really great job. I'm sure it's tough to get 68 teams plus a traveling party of 30 and all the facilities and things. I'm just happy to be here and they're doing a really great job."

McBride, an All-Big 12 second team selection, is making quite the impact in Morgantown. He's the team's leading scorer at 15.5 points per game. His leadership has steadily increased throughout the season, too.

When his roommate Oscar Tshiebwe transferred to Kentucky in January, McBride didn't blink. He said the entire team stepped up to fill the void.

"I think if you lit any more fire underneath of Deuce you'd have a forest fire," said West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, who has 899 career wins entering Friday night.

"Deuce doesn't need lit up. He's a guy who comes in every day and works. He's a guy who spends countless hours on his own working on his game. Deuce doesn't need the motivation of somebody transferring out to play harder or work harder. I don't know that he could do any better at either area."

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West Virginia sophomore guard Miles McBride was a football and basketball standout at Moeller High School.

Walt McBride remembers how much his son, Miles, wanted the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament as a youngster. The McBride family is leaving Cincinnati late Friday afternoon to be at Lucas Oil Stadium.

"He would talk about making it to the final four and things like that," Walt McBride said. "That's a dream of his and winning a championship. Last year he was devasted. Actually, we were headed out there (the the Big 12 final in Kansas City in March 2020) and he texted us and said that there wouldn't be a tournament. He was really upset about that."

Walt has noticed how Miles has grown in some of the intangibles this season including his leadership and poise on the court as a point guard.

"He's done a great job," Walt McBride said. "He's very mature and he's handled things well."

Moeller basketball coach Carl Kremer has enjoyed watching how Miles has thrived in his second season of college basketball. Kremer always knew the standout was on a path of success early in his high school career.

"Miles is such a special kid," Kremer said. "He was easy to coach. He bought into really all parts of our program - not just basketball but all parts of how we try to do things. He is really an amazing kid. To see the success he's had and know there is a lot of interest in the NBA for him. I've been taken those phone calls all winter. Just really excited about his future."

Kremer credited also the entire McBride family including Walt, his wife, Kim and their two other children, former Moeller standout Trey and Mount Notre Dame senior Kristen McBride.

Kristen won state basketball and volleyball titles this school year at MND and she is the second MND student-athlete to win state titles in both of those sports in the same school year.

Trey, a former Northwood University and Moeller standout, is playing professional basketball in Serbia.

"I do think it's rooted in the family," Kremer said. "Walt and Kim are amazing parents and so are all of their kids. The family gets it. They get how things work. They're hard workers. For me it's been a pleasure to be associated with the family."