MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia’s Jordan McCabe isn’t the player that lights up the stats column but he is Mr. Dependable for his team.
Against Kansas State on Saturday, the junior point guard stepped in for a banged up Miles “Deuce” McBride. During the team’s 65-43 win, McCabe got the start and finished the afternoon with seven points, two assists and one rebound.
It may not look like much on paper but his play helped the Mountaineers pull away from the Wildcats.
“I thought he got better and better as the game went on,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “He didn’t start out real well, but as the game went on, he really started to feel a lot more comfortable. He needs to make some of those shots that he had, but he’s really capable. That’s why you want him out there. For us, spreading the floor and keeping (junior forward) Derek (Culver) down there has been pretty good for us.”
McCabe is often criticized by fans but the 6-foot, 188-pound guard wears his heart on his sleeve and brings more to the table than meets the eye. In fact, he is one of the Mountaineers’ veteran leaders.
Three years ago was one of the most trying seasons for Huggins and Mountaineer nation. As a freshman, McCabe had to endure the growing pains along with Culver and Emmitt Matthews Jr.
At the end of the season, McCabe developed into the leader WVU had lacked all season. That has carried over his entire tenure in Morgantown.
When the going gets tough, McCabe has been the backbone for his team. WVU has been known for some epic comebacks and turn arounds. Part of that success has been attributed to the character of the Kaukauna, Wisc, native.
“Jordan has been efficient all year,” junior Sean McNeil said. “That’s just who Jordan is. He’s our guy. He’s our leader. We rely on him to get us calmed down and relax. In situations whether we may be up 20 or down 15, he’s the guy to get us together. Obviously tonight, he played 21 minutes, made some huge free throws for us. He’s a playmaker. That’s what he does.”
McCabe doesn’t have to be the player that lights up the scoreboard and he knows that.
“Roles are roles,” he said. “Coming off the bench, my role is to calm us down wherever we are at, whether we are up 10, down 10, even. When I get those minutes coming off the bench, my goal is to calm us down and get us a run offense.”
The Kaukauna High School alum knows he isn’t the biggest, fastest or best guard on the team, let alone the conference. Instead, he has learned from his coaches and the game to adapt and be the player the Mountaineers need.
“At 5’10” or whatever I’m standing, I’m the shortest and if we ran 40s, probably the slowest guy in our league. I just have to make reads,” McCabe said. “If I can get a step on a guy, that’s great. I just take what they give me. Juwan (Staten) has been great in terms of breaking down how to be an undersized guard. He will be upset that I compared me and him in terms of height but he’ll get over it. It’s just making reads. If I can get to the rim, I can get to the rim but at the end of the day, if I can get others involved that’s the goal.”
McCabe has learned to embrace his role and work hard to help his team bring home achieve their goal of cutting down the nets in a few weeks.
Cover Photo Credit: Dale Sparks