The Tale Of Two Mountaineer Point Guards
MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–Jordan McCabe and Beetle Bolden are on opposite ends of the experience spectrum.
McCabe is a freshman who played in his 11th game Sunday. Bolden is a fourth-year junior who has seen action in 74 career contests.
Both are listed as 6-foot tall, though in reality each is an inch or two shorter.
Sunday against Lehigh, they two played the bulk of the minutes at the point guard position. Normally redshirt freshman Brandon Knapper gets a good bit of time there as well, but the South Charleston High grad was used for just seven minutes on Sunday.
McCabe got the start, the first of his collegiate career.
“We’re trying to work with Knap and we’re trying to work with Jordan,” explained WVU head coach Bob Huggins after the Mountaineers’ 78-68 victory over Lehigh. “The last two days Jordan was way better (in practice) than Knap, so that’s why we started Jordan. I wanted to reward him for having good practices.”
McCabe responded with five points, three rebounds, two assists, one steal and one turnover in 12 minutes.
The youngster from Kaukauna, Wisc., didn’t find out he was going to start until 10 minutes before the opening tip.
“It felt great to run out the carpet and get the start,” said McCabe. “I’m not going to lie to you. It did feel good. It was an opportunity for me, and I hope to continue to battle and prove I deserve more.”
Huggins explained that McCabe still is learning what it takes to be successful in major college basketball. Jordan was Mr. Basketball in Wisconsin last year, averaging 26.7 points per game, but he’s still adjusting to this level.
“I don’t think he understands the effort he has to put forward because he’s just not as fast as those other guys. But that’s OK,” noted WVU’s head coach, whose club improved to 8-4 with the win. “You just have to compensate with something, and generally speaking I think intelligence is the thing.
“I think he got shook up when he shot an air ball,” added Huggins. “He was feeling good after he made a couple shots. Then he shot an air ball and went into a little more of a shell.”
While McCabe is still learning, Bolden is finally getting healthy after being affected by a hand injury since October.
Beetle came off the bench on Sunday, but once he got on the floor, his shots quickly started falling. He scored a game-high 22 points while playing both shooting guard and point guard.
“This is really first time we’ve had (the guards healthy) all year,” explained Huggins. “Beetle has been hurt most of the year, and it’s hard to be a point guard when you don’t have a hand. He’s just now coming around, and I think he’s now making strides. He had no chance of being a point guard before with just one healthy hand.”