That Scout.com’s #1 center and #2 player overall selected Michigan over national powers Duke and Florida may still be a shock to some, but Mitch McGary said the decision was “very comfortable” in his announcement to Michigan on ESPNU.
“When I visited I felt very comfortable being on campus,” he said. “There was a good balance of athletics and academics. I feel like they have good opportunities for me there. I want to go in there and hopefully be a very good person around campus and the community and make a name for myself and help the basketball team.”
McGary averaged 12 points and 10 rebounds at Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy last season and finished 31-3. This year they are Sports Illustrated preseason No. 1 team in the country. The 6-10, 250-pounder is the highest rated basketball commit in John Beilein’s career. The Wolverines’ fifth year headman had been following McGary since his freshman year at Chesterton, Ind., when he was recruiting then senior guard Zach Novak.
“(McGary) did not play a great deal when Zack was senior and he was a freshman on that team,” Beilein recalled. “But we did hear of him the next year, and we just sort of stayed in contact between his coaches and his AAU coaches. And just kept in the back of our mind there, that if we did need a big man during that year... (so) we just kept in contact.”
McGary eventually headed to Brewster to bolster his grades, but his basketball game benefitted also. Beilein said McGary embraced the opportunity to play at Brewster and made positive changes to his game.
Said Beilein, “I think from going up and seeing him last year and just seeing the whole development of him as a person, as he continued to develop… (you could see), ‘hey, you know what; this young man has a chance to be special.”
When describing what makes McGary special, Brewster coach Jason Smith said his star pupil is a multi-skilled player that is highly coachable.
“Over the past year Mitch has improved his all-around game both on the interior, as well as the perimeter. He possesses a tremendous motor and is extremely coachable,” said Smith on Brewster web-site. “He's a valued member of our school community at Brewster and will bring the same high-character and involvement to the University of Michigan.”
But Mitch wouldn’t have gone to Michigan if it was up to his father Tim. The elder McGary said the decision was his son’s and he fully supports his commitment.
“Once we took a trip up to Ann Arbor last June, He kind of started liking it,” he said. “Then Back in September for an official he really liked it then. After that we went to North Carolina and Duke. He kept thinking about Michigan. I tried to make him think about other schools. I actually wanted him to go to Duke, but I am fine with his decision. I think it had to do with being closer to home.”
Personal preference aside, Tim McGary is far from disappointed in his son’s choice. The Michigan coaching staff and in particular John Beilein embody the kind of character and integrity he wants leading his son.
“I like him a lot,” McGary said of Beilein. “I think he is a genuine guy. I think he has really turned the program around. I think he is straight up. The guy can coach. He has done wonderful things with the program. I think he is going to do great. He has a nice class coming in next year, and I think they are going to do well this year. They got a great team.”
Glenn Robinson III will be a part of the team next year, once again pairing up with his best friend and AAU teammate Mitch. The elder McGary believes Robinson’s presence was yet another lure to Ann Arbor for his son.
“Probably, it had something to do with it… I know that,” Tim said. “They really like each other a lot. Glenn is just a true gentleman. He is a charming young man. I think they are going to room together. I think it is great. A long time ago, they hit it off together when they first started playing together in SYF.”
Now the duo has visions sharing in huge success at Michigan. Along the way, talk of McGary jumping to the NBA is always going to constantly come up. It’s a familiar topic for the McGarys, but not one they’re preoccupied with.
“Year-by-year they talk about him going into the NBA, but we will cross that bridge when we get to it,” he said.