Texas West Virginia Basketball

West Virginia guard Miles McBride (4) drives it up the court against Texas.

MORGANTOWN — If Miles “Deuce” McBride had to describe himself in only one word, what would it be?

“Fearless,” said West Virginia University’s star freshman guard with a slight smile.

McBride didn’t want to sound arrogant, because he’s not. He didn’t want to sound egotistical, either, because he also is not that. And goodness knows, McBride didn’t want to sound like he was all full himself, because that’s not the case either.

The truth of the matter is McBride is so quietly confident and believes in himself so fully, so totally, so inherently, nothing actually scares him.

That includes the Missouri Tigers, who take on the No. 14-ranked Mountaineers at noon Saturday here in the WVU Coliseum.

“I’m fearless everywhere I go,” explained McBride. “But I still have to understand my role as a teammate and as a player. If my number is called, I’ve got to be ready to step up. It’s kind of like that. It’s just being ready for the opportunity that’s there.”

So far, McBride has made the most of just about every opportunity he has gotten in WVU’s 18 games. That’s why he’s one of only three double-figure scorers (10.1 points per game) despite not starting a single game.

McBride is also the only Mountaineer shooting above 40 percent from behind the 3-point arc. The 6-foot-2 true freshman is 17 of 42 (.405). He’s also the leading foul shooter among players who have attempted more than 20 free throws at .750 (45 of 60).

Is it any wonder he’s fearless?

“I think it’s just me listening to the coaches,” said McBride during a recent interview. “I take shots I know I can make. I make the shots in practice, so then I’m ready in games. I’m just prepared to play fearless and let the game come to me.

“In high school, at that level it’s kind of easy to take over games when you want to. At this level, you can’t. You can’t flip it on and flip it off. So every day I come in ready to work and show my teammates that this is something that I’ve got to do because everybody is good, everybody can get hot.

“But if you come in every day and stay consistent, consistency always wins.”

Even his practice mentality is fearless. And there’s a reason for that.

“It comes from high school,” said McBride, who starred at well-known Moeller High School in Cincinnati. “Practice in high school was like here — harder than the games — because the coaches know.

“We had a great coaching staff in high school that won state championships before I got there, so practice is always going to be harder. That’s just one thing I’m used to.”

Even his Mountaineer teammates have come to realize and appreciate McBride’s fearless attitude and work ethic.

Just ask Brandon Knapper.

“Oh, he’s outstanding,” said the former South Charleston High School star. “We believe in him and he believes in himself. We see it every day in practice. You think you’re playing great defense on him and, some how, he gets the shot up and it goes in. You just look at him and say, ‘Wow.’

“That’s the type of player he is and I’m proud of him.”

Knapper sounded a bit fearless himself there. So, maybe, just maybe, McBride’s attitude is contagious.

Isn’t that a fearless thought?