LAS VEGAS – Point guard Miles McBride, the Knicks’ second-round pick out of West Virginia, got his basketball mindset from his father, Walter. Not just the rugged defense, but also the love of thriving from mid-range.
The 6-foot-5 Walter McBride played shooting guard at Xavier University in Cincinnati and led the Atlantic 10 in steals one season. He signed with the Pacers out of college, was cut late in training camp, played a year in the minor-leagues and staged a 10-year career in Germany.
“I was the defensive stopper,’’ Walter told The Post after watching his son shine through three games of the Las Vegas Summer League. “As I teach my kids, it’s fun to play defense when you stop someone. That adrenaline takes you down to the offensive end.’’
Walter speaks in a booming baritone — he briefly became a radio analyst for Xavier games after his pro career ended. Nowadays he does some coaching in Cincinnati and is a youth referee.
“Back in my day, they didn’t have the 3-point line,’’ Walter McBride said. “When I showed my two sons tape, the first thing they say was ”Where’s the 3-point line? I was mid-range, 18 feet out. When you see a player whose dad played, it’s almost identical to what the dad did. And midrange was my shot.’’
The younger McBride is smaller than his father, measuring 6-foot-1 without shoes at the NBA Draft combine. But McBride played like the biggest player in the Las Vegas Summer League late Wednesday at the Thomas & Mack Center.
McBride made his father proud, even if he did most of his damage from the 3-point line, and not mid-range. Miles drilled all six of his treys, finishing with 22 points, connecting on 7 of 9 buckets overall. In the final minute in the win over the Lakers, McBride sank a game-sealer, drilling his final trey at the shot-clock buzzer.
In the past two Summer League games, McBride has averaged 18 points on 12 of 16 from the field.
When Miles was asked afterward about being new teammates with point guard Kemba Walker, McBride said, “He’s very good at midrange — that’s one of the things I‘m very good at. “(My father) played back when there was no 3-point line. He’s passed it on to me and my brother. A lot of time in the backyard with the street lights coming on, taking mid-range shots.’’
McBride promised he’d make teams “pay” for passing on him when he fell to 36th overall in the draft, which mostly was because of size concerns.
“He wasn’t happy to go 36th,’’ Walter said. “In all honesty I said he should go back to school before the draft, improve your draft stock. He said, “I’ve outgrown the college game and I’m ready.’’
Walter said his son is likely to grow another inch, though he may not need it.
Miles’ wingspan measured a healthy 6-foot-8 at the combine.
Walter’s wife, Kim, is 5-foot-7. His daughter, Kristen, who plays volleyball at West Virginia, is 5-foot-9. Walter’s eldest son, Trey, is 6-foot-3 and plays in Serbia. The Knicks list McBride at 6-foot-2.
“There’ll be growth,’’ Walter said. “You look at him, he looks like a baby he is a baby. I think he’ll get another inch – not just because of the hair.
Even if McBride doesn’t grow, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau sees a tenacious defender. Although Thibodeau has not publicly commented on the team’s draft picks, The Post reported before the draft the reigning Coach of the Year pushed for McBride.
The father likes the marriage. Thibodeau is old school – just like Miles’ college coach Bob Huggins, the colorful, gruff taskmaster. And Walter is even more old-school – in the Bobby Knight mold.
“He’s been through me, growing up, throwing trash cans at them for not doing something in a drill,’’ Walter said. “Then to “Huggs” and Thibs is pretty much the same. He’s a perfectionist.”
Nowadays, Walter tries not to give Miles much input. He surprised Miles by showing up in Las Vegas. When Walter walked into the arena during warmups before Sunday’s opener, the father shrilled a whistle. Miles knew the sound. He looked up and smiled.
But sometimes Walter can’t help himself in spreading his knowledge to Miles.
“I never talk about his offense but I do say something about defense,’’ Walter McBride said. “Are you telling me you didn’t know he likes to take three dribbles to the right and cross over? Those things I get on him about.’’
That Miles was a high-school quarterback is another edge on why his son will be a strong lead guard. “You have to have vision,’’ Walter said. “You have to know where everyone’s at. That’s why the quarterback gets paid a lot.’’
Miles has a plenty of good DNA in basketball and courage. Walter’s father played for the Washington Generals and a satellite Harlem Globetrotters team. His other grandfather was a Tuskegee Airman.
“A lot of second-round picks generally have short stints and go overseas,’’ Walter said. “There’s always that chance. But Thibs likes him and he possibly can move him around and he’s a sponge. When you come in the league, you have to be humble and be a sponge.’’
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