Mitch McGary has been a hot name around the hallways of three major universities lately. The thermometer is about to turn up several notches as McGary has declared in his latest blog post that he will announce his college decision next week.
The finalists have been whittled down to three schools: Florida, Duke, and Michigan.
McGary is the #2 rated overall prospect in the nation according to ESPNU. He is a 6’10’’ power forward that has the entire toolbox. He can overpower his defender, put the ball on the floor, shoot from beyond the three point line, and man-up in the post on defense and swat shots away with ease.
In short, he is the kind of player that can flip a program from a mere contender into a Final 4 team. He has that much talent.
Every school across the nation who felt they had a shot at the coveted big man has been banging on his front door for well over a year now. Yet Florida, Duke, and Michigan are the final suitors.
Trying to climb inside a high school kid’s brain and attempting to figure out what he’s about to do is a fruitless exercise. I wouldn’t be shocked by him pulling any of the three hats onto his dome late next week when he finally commits.
What we can do is determine what picking each school would mean for him and what message it sends about what he is trying to accomplish in his college career.
The Gators offer one of the most attractive programs in the south. And therein rests the beauty of Florida. McGary is an Indiana kid who attends high school in New Hampshire. Florida living probably sounds pretty good right about now. He would get to play under a championship coach in Billy Donovan.
McGary claims he enjoys up tempo basketball and he’d certainly get it at Florida. If the NBA resolves its issues, McGary undeniably has the upside of a “one and done” player. He could walk onto Florida’s campus, instantly become the man, the go-to guy on the court, and win or lose, press on toward his NBA dreams.
Picking Florida would outwardly indicate that it is less about team goals and more about individual upside, and perhaps the weather. Neither thing can be looked at as faulty reasoning for a kid who has been blessed with the body and talent to be a millionaire professional athlete.
Bottom line: going to Florida is the most clear indicator of a “one and done” mentality.
Playing basketball for Coach Krzyzewski would be a dream come true for any high school basketball player. Duke resides at the top of the college basketball mountain. They are a team that competes for a Final 4 virtually every year. The Blue Devils are constantly stockpiled with talent. McGary would add to that without question.
Choosing to play ball for Coach K can never be questioned. Most kids would kill to be so fortunate. The only problem for McGary is that of the three schools on his list, Duke offers him the least potential for immediate stardom on the court. That can be a tough pill to swallow for an all-world recruit.
Should he play for the Blue Devils, it would provide instant testimony that Mitch is a team first guy who covets tradition, Finals 4’s, and championships over personal accolades. And to me, this factor could potentially make Duke the least likely of the three to land McGary.
Bottom line: heading to Duke means that McGary wants the best college basketball experience available to anyone, one that might last 2-3 years.
John Beilein has transformed Michigan basketball from a Big 10 doormat to a legitimate contender. Once thought to be handcuffed on the recruiting trail, Beilein has turned the corner by landing players such as Trey Burke and Carlton Brundidge and future studs like Glenn Robinson III and Nick Stauskus. Inking McGary would be a statement get for the program. With a brand new, world class Player Development Center and the finally renovated Crisler Arena, Michigan is back for good.
McGary would come in and be the primary offensive weapon in the post for Michigan. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford would lighten his load but Mitch would be the most talented player not only in the frontcourt, but on the entire roster.
Should he choose to become a Wolverine, it would indicate a desire to make a name for himself within a team that is on the rise. He would become a substantial part of the revival going on in Ann Arbor and would be the most highly touted big man the school has boasted since Chris Webber.
Bottom line: Michigan offers a blend of the other two schools on his list. He’d be “the man” right off the blocks and could stay for a year or two, become part of a great team, potentially reach the Final 4, and leave a legend.
It seems that after Florida’s most recent visit is when McGary decided to “shut it down” as indicated in his blog linked above. Florida has made many a player really second guess their decision over the years. Al Horford comes to mind. He was all but yanked from the admissions building Ann Arbor for the sunny skies of Florida.
McGary’s high school teammate TJ Warren also has Florida on his list. Could that be a factor?
Speculation will run rampant over the next week. The thing that most surprised me in McGary’s latest blog entry is that he still claims to have no idea in which direction he’s leaning. If that’s the case, then maybe it’s still a bit premature for him to decide.
Wherever he lands, he will make an instant splash. Will he choose self, tradition, or an uprising?
You can follow me on Twitter @isportsJoe
College Basketball News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!
|Best of Yardbarker||NFL News||MLB News||NBA News||NHL News|
Today's Best Stuff