MORGANTOWN — A three-headed point guard is a unique beast.
Right, Brandon Knapper?
“Yeah, it is,” said West Virginia University’s sophomore guard with a laugh. “Yes sir. Very unique.”
Yet, that unique situation has been the norm for the Mountaineers during the 2019-20 basketball season. If anything, the three-headed point guard situation involving Jordan McCabe, Miles “Deuce” McBride and Knapper is escalating.
Just look at WVU’s last three games.
In a 55-41 victory over Oklahoma State, McCabe, 6-foot, 188-pound sophomore, started and played 15 minutes with three points on 1-for-7 shooting, five rebounds and two assists. McBride, a 6-2, 196-pound true freshman, played 17 minutes off the bench with 10 points (4-of-7 shooting) and one rebound. Then Knapper, a 6-0, 185-pound sophomore, played 14 minutes with eight points (2-of-5 shooting) and two rebounds.
Next, during WVU’s 66-54 home win over Texas Tech, McCabe started and scored zero points on 0-of-3 shooting in 12 minutes of action. But McBride came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting with two rebounds and one assist in 26 minutes.
The former South Charleston High School star also scored in double figures with 10 points, two assists and four rebounds in 24 minutes.
It was more of the same during an 81-49 rout of TCU. McCabe started and scored three points with three assists in 13 minutes. Then McBride scored 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 20 minutes. And, then, Knapper had five points and two assists in 12 minutes.
Obviously, this odd three-headed point guard combination is working. But how? Ah, the key is McBride and Knapper can play both the point guard and shooting guard positions and often are in games together.
Besides that, there is absolutely no animosity.
“We all love each other,” said Knapper. “We all work with each other and make each other better every day in practice. So, that’s the love about it.”
The results have been eye-popping. The three-headed point guard is playing 51.0 minutes per game, averaging 24.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists while shooting .482 percent on field goal attempts.
“I know between the guards we talk about it all the time,” said Knapper. “And I know me and Deuce ... Deuce can play the two [shooting guard] and play the one [point guard], I can play the one and two as a combo guard and Jordan can play the one.
“I kind of like playing off the ball a lot. That’s where I played at Hargrave [prep school]. Sometimes in high school, I played off the ball just to get some shots up. I feel a lot more comfortable with the ball in my hands, but I can play off the ball, too.”
Another reason this unique situation is working is because Knapper and McBride are together every day in practice.
“It’s chemistry,” said Knapper. “We’re on the same team every day in practice. I mean, I don’t want to say first-team, second-team, but we are competing in practice every day. So, me and Deuce are a great combo together and, hopefully, we’ll play more together during the season.”
It certainly appears likely.
Knapper and McBride probably will share the court at times when 12th-ranked WVU plays Kansas State at 2 p.m. Saturday in Manhattan, Kansas.
Long story short?
This three-headed point guard is not just a passing fancy.