Sam Webb hosted a roundtable in the Sports Talk 1050 WTKA studio today, featuring former UM standout…
McGary's Long and Climbing Road to Michigan
It hasn't always been a fanfare situation for the 6-foot-11, 250 pound Southpaw from Chesterton, Ind.
McGary has come a long way since his sophomore season at Chesterton. As a sophomore, he averaged 14.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and three blocked shots per game. And Chesterton finished the season 11-10. And he had similar numbers his junior season.
Despite the good numbers and rising interest nationally after his junior season, McGary made the decision to transfer schools. He admitted that he had some grade issues. So he left Chesterton to attend Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy.
"It was my main purpose to come here and get my grades," McGary told scout.com in November, 2010. "Back at home I didn't have any grades and I didn't think I was going anywhere except for a JUCO or something."
He has excelled in the classroom at Brewster, making him eligible to play at the college level. He has also excelled on the hardwood. He was the sixth-man last year for Brewster when the team was loaded with Division-1 talent, including Naadir Tharpe (Kansas), Durand Johnson (Pitt), Max Hooper (Harvard), and Markus Kennedy (Villanova). McGary said playing with all the talent at Brewster has helped develop his game.
"Mainly I think it was the transition moving out to Brewster," McGary told GBW in June. "I did it mainly for academic reasons. But it helped out from a basketball standpoint, being that it was the best school in the country the year before and won the national championship. So just playing against that level of play, and playing in practice, was another level up from what it was at my local high school."
He became a riser in the recruiting rankings as well. He was ranked as the 65th best player according to Scout.com back in April. But the smooth shooting lefty has sky rocketed up the charts this past summer in AAU basketball competition. He played for SYF Players out of Indiana, and over the course of this past season he's become one of the best high school big men in the country.
"I saw Mitch quite a bit as a sophomore and I would have never guessed he was going to be this good," said Scout.com national recruiting analyst Evan Daniels in a September Detroit News article. "It has been a heck of a rise for him. His whole game has changed. He has really developed his skill set. He plays so hard and brings so much energy to the table that he has been able to be really effective. It has been a pretty unbelievable rise for him. He is a terrific player that continues to get better."
And playing AAU basketball helped McGary transition his game further. He said his AAU coach Wayne Brumm let him hang around the three-point line to help develop his game.
"I Just added a few things to my game, because big men don't really like to step out at the three," McGary said. "If that starts going then I step out and I just go right by them, because I am a little quicker."
His SYF teammate Glenn Robinson III is a Michigan commit as well. McGary said the two the hangout on the regular when he is back home in Chesterton, and Robinson has been one of his top recruiters.
"Me and Mitch have been best of friends for a while now," Robinson told GBW in June. "I'm trying to recruit him a little I guess, okay a lot, we talk about it all the time. I know it is his decision, because I mean everybody knows him now. He is probably the best big man in the country. I got great respect for him. He is a good guy on and off the court."
McGary also has a connection with current Wolverine senior captain Zack Novak. Both played together at Chesterton — McGary was a freshman while Novak was a senior in high school. McGary said familiarity with Novak has helped in the recruiting process with the Michigan coaching staff.
And he said he liked his meeting with the coaches this past summer.
"It went great," said McGary. "I really like the coaches. The coaching staff was real with me and I know people that are going there and that are there now. I can trust them in their decision as to whether a coach is cool or not.
McGary's Blue Decision today proves just how deep that trust goes.
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