Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia fans may have forgotten but…
Jordan McCabe is a virtuoso, a flashy on-court maestro with the basketball, who needs freedom to make mistakes to perform to the best of his abilities.
Bob Huggins is an old-school, gritty, tough coach that doesn’t like or appreciate flashiness or dazzling playmakers. He’d rather a player make the easy, sure pass than the no-look or behind the back one.
This is where the conflict between Jordan McCabe and Bob Huggins started. McCabe needed freedom and Bob Huggins does not want his players to have freedom to make mistakes on the court.
With this said, Huggins knew what he was getting with McCabe when he recruited him out of high school four years ago. McCabe traveled with the Harlem Globetrotters and performed halftime dribbling exhibitions. High school footage of McCabe shows that he liked to dribble…a lot, and he liked to make fancy passes.
McCabe did what he could to adjust to Huggins’ style. He was the first player in the gym and the last to leave. He calmed down on the showmanship on the court and ran Huggins’ offense. However, McCabe’s lack of size, athleticism and speed made him ineffective if he was unable to use his natural ability to dribble and make difficult passes.
Again, this is what the problem was with Jordan McCabe at West Virginia University. He was a square peg in a round hole. Either Bob Huggins needed to let Jordan McCabe be Jordan McCabe, or Jordan McCabe was never going to be the truly productive college basketball player that he is capable of being.
After showing real promise in his freshman season, McCabe’s production and confidence diminished. As a junior this past season, he averaged 2.2 points, 1.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting 31% from the field.
This is not how it was supposed to go for Jordan McCabe. He was the leader and the future of the team at one point.
At the end of McCabe’s freshman season, a severely-depleted WVU team went 2-2 to close out the season and 2-1 in the Big 12 Tournament, beating Iowa State, Oklahoma and eventual National Championship-bound Texas Tech along the way. McCabe averaged 13.5 points, 5 assists and 1.8 steals per game while shooting 35% from three point range during the last 10 games. This is what McCabe is capable of when given the freedom to be himself.
Jordan McCabe has worked really, really hard his entire life to become an outstanding basketball player. With no prospects of playing professionally after graduation, he has two years left of eligibility to play competitively.
He had a very difficult decision. Did he want to spend the final two years of his basketball career perpetually in Bob Huggins’ dog house while playing limited minutes behind Miles McBride, or did he want to go elsewhere to have some freedom to be the leader on the court that he knows he can be?
Jordan McCabe made the right decision. As much as we all wanted him to remain in Morgantown and as much as he wanted to be a Mountaineer for life, this unfortunately just wasn’t the right fit for him.