ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Uncertainty still surrounds the decision making process and future for Michigan sophomore center Mitch McGary, considering leaving the Wolverines early for the NBA draft or returning for his junior season.
One thing that is becoming clear though; McGary might be a little healthier than many in the public realize, that’s at least according to teammate and best friend Glenn Robinson III, who officially declared himself eligible for the NBA draft Tuesday.
“Mitch is a great player and I’ve seen that just by his workouts,” Robinson III said.
“He hasn’t played in many months and that’s crazy that he can come back and he’s dominating already and he’s playing as good a basketball as he was before he got hurt.
“His jump shot is looking great and he’s feeling great about everything. My job is to be there as a friend, like I said, and just leave that up to him.”
McGary underwent a back procedure at the end of December, rehabbing and working his way back to 100-percent, costing him the entire Big Ten conference season and the Wolverines postseason run in March.
Admitting to discussing their futures together behind the scenes, Robinson III isn’t taking sides with his advice or opinion on what exactly he thinks McGary should do.
“One thing that I’ve really done for Mitch is not get too much into telling him what to do,” Robinson III said Tuesday. “I think that’s something I’ve really taken for myself, just weighing my options of what can happen and just telling him if you stay you’re going to get better, people haven’t seen you play a full season.
“If you leave, you’re a great player, his game really relates to the NBA well; high motor guy, energy guy that likes to run the floor. So, I’m just going to talk to him as a friend, I’m not going to persuade him either way, kind of leave that decision up to him cause we have so many people kind of feeding stuff to our ears, reading everything.”
Robinson III is right, whichever direction McGary chooses to take with his basketball career, he’ll have the opportunity to improve, and in some respects reprove himself.
Making it through an up and down freshman campaign as a reserve big man, despite coming in with five-stars next to his name and giant expectations, McGary’s greatest achievement in a Michigan uniform came when he was inserted into the starting lineup for the Wolverines six game run to the national title game in 2013. McGary averaged 14.3 points and 10.7 rebounds per game in that span.
But was that run enough?
The 2013-14 season was supposed to be a showcase of sorts for McGary, seen as the man in the middle for Michigan, ready to prove he could carry over those NCAA tournament double doubles into Big Ten play.
With the lingering issue in his back followed by the surgery, McGary has yet to have a sustained period of success over an entire season, dropping his draft status into the second round.
Should McGary bolt for the NBA now though, his game is one that fits the NBA style. With enough height and a solid build, McGary’s skillset and fundamentals at the forward position make him an asset, an energy player off the bench at the very least.
Michigan coach John Beilein says he, his coaching staff and McGary’s inner circle continue to have discussions about what is best for his future.
“Mitch is still gathering information and as we gather information he has all the way to the 27th to make a decision,” Beilein said. “So, he’s looking at all the possibilities and we’re working with him as well.”
Beilein adding, “He’s been working out with us in our individual workouts. Not the full go but he’s making great progress, great progress.”