this may be of some local interest
I'm a casual NBA fan -- I don't follow everything going on. So was a bit surprised to not see Mitch on the bench in these playoffs.
Looking into it, I see he took a leave of absence in April for undisclosed reasons -- he's not listed as injured. I'm not looking for baseless speculation as to what the leave was all about. Family, most likely.
I see from his Twitter feed that he is now traveling with the team and in his usual Big Puppy mode, smiling and bouncing around. So I guess the break from the game left him a little bit out of the kind of shape these guys need to be in for the playoffs? Or is it tactical?
NBA people -- any thoughts on why he isn't back on the Thunder's bench?
With the news that Spike Albrecht will be transferring for his fifth-year senior season, the last member of the “Fresh Five” departs Ann Arbor. The 2012 recruiting class – Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson, Nik Stauskas, Caris LeVert, Spike – were all rotation players as freshmen in March and made it to the national title game: for a brief stretch, they were all on the floor together in the Georgia Dome as Michigan raced out to a first half lead over Louisville. Mitch, who was so impactful in that tournament run, was lost to injury as a sophomore; with Nik, Caris, and GRIII leading the charge, Michigan won the Big Ten and made it to the Elite Eight.
In those two seasons, the Wolverines won 59 games, posting a 27-9 record in Big Ten play and going 8-2 in the NCAA Tournament. The three-year span from 2012 (when the Fresh Five were seniors in high school) to 2014 (their sophomore year) will probably be considered the apex of the Beilein era – the ‘13 and ‘14 teams were the best offensively in all of college basketball and true national title contenders. As far as recruiting classes – and five-man lineups – go, Albrecht / LeVert / Stauskas / Robinson / McGary is about as good as you’ll get in college basketball.
Mitch thrived after he lost weight and, with the help of Trey Burke, became one of the best players in the country in March as a freshman – physical, energetic, and lethal in the pick-and-roll. Nik blew up as a sophomore, won Big Ten POY, and was drafted in the lottery after excelling as the team’s sharpshooting alpha dog. GRIII started and played big minutes in a complementary role for two excellent teams before leaving for the NBA (and sticking with a team). Caris was a phenomenal second banana as a sophomore and developed into an very intriguing NBA prospect in his own right. Spike was always a good backup point guard, an offensive sparkplug and a stable rotation cog – and developed into a capable starter as a junior.
Depending on LeVert’s health, there could be four of the Fresh Five in the NBA next season. Hopefully we’ll get to see Spike play well at his next stop and light up somebody in the NCAA Tournament a year from now. Because talent is so fleeting in college basketball, the window for these guys at Michigan was pretty small – just two seasons. Beilein made the most of those two seasons though and the Fresh Five helped elevate Michigan to a level of success it hadn’t seen since the Fab Five while playing a brilliant kind of offensive basketball – elite shooting, pick-and-roll mastery, and GRIII thunder-dunks.
Unfortunately, fate was cruel to Mitch, Caris, and Spike.
[sadness, but also happiness after THE JUMP]
In his first playing time for the Pacers, GRIII made a big impact with 10 points on 3-4 shooting(4/5 FT); he also chipped in 2 boards and a steal in 19 minutes. Perhaps most importantly, he found himself on the floor with the score tied and less than a minute left against Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger and the Celtics. The preseason noise about his development might not be the mirage it appeared to be after starting the season with 4 straight DNPs.
Stauskas started again for the Sixers and currently has 14 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists in the 3rd quarter, albeit not very efficiently(5/14 FG, 3/10 3pt)
Tim Hardaway and Mitch McGary's teams are both in action tonight, although neither have played. McGary has 4 quality big men in front of him in OKC, while Tim Hardaway appears to be the literal last man off the bench for Atlanta at this point.
NBA.com has a nice little article about McGary's rookie season.
Also his season highlights which are fun to watch. So much hustle.
Mitch McGary with a career high 20 points against Portland with about 9 minutes remaining in the 4Q. On ESPN.
McGary hit the Blazers with this:
While playing 31 minutes, scoring 18 points, and grabbing 13 rebounds (6 offensive!), Mitch also managed to drop this sweet dime. (Someone, please feel free to embed.)
I hate you, NCAA.