Michigan basketball, on the way back. Go Blue!!!
"It's not about last year or who's here or who's isn't here," says your head coach. "It's about getting out here and competing and seeing who is here, and that's where we're gonna go."
I will keep my composure. I will keep my composure. I will keep my composure.
Well, I tried, but when Michigan hauls in their biggest basketball recruit since either LaVell Blanchard (1999) or Jerod Ward (1994) it's time to get excited. Mitch McGary chose the Wolverines today over Duke and Florida live on ESPNU, and lo, there is much rejoicing in Ann Arbor.
5*, #1 C,
5*, #1 C,
#3 C, #5 Ovr
All four services are in agreement that McGary is 6'10" and around 250 pounds (except ESPN, which has him at 225, which seems implausible), and all are in agreement that he's really, really good at basketball.
How good? Let's get to the evaluations, starting with ESPN:
McGary is a physically imposing presence in the paint with good size, tremendous upper body strength, and limitless energy and physicality. He is proactive seeking out contact inside, a consistent finisher, and high volume two way rebounder. He is incredibly active with a terrific motor and great toughness. The lefty is skilled enough to stretch the defense to 18 feet, has the dexterity to dunk with both hands in congestion, and sets big screens both on and off the ball. He runs well in straight lines and has pretty soft hands around the basket.
That's their "strengths" blurb, while areas to work on include developing a more polished post game, using his right hand more (he's a lefty), and his basketball I.Q.—they cite that he plays with "blind aggression," which seems to make sense when you're a 6'10" NBA prospect with outstanding mobility and finishing ability, but that's just me.
UMHoops caught McGary—as well as his AAU teammate and best friend, now-fellow 2012 commit Glenn Robinson III—at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest this spring:
McGary’s uncanny combination of size, strength, athleticism and coordination is extremely impressive because it allows him to do so much on the court. He loves to rebound the ball and push it up the court himself. He attacks the basket with a nice face-up game, although it’d be nice to see him play more with his back to the basket.
His decision making needs work as he often tries to do far too much before turning the ball over.He also tends to float to the perimeter a bit too much and loves to settle for jump shots despite having the tools to get a much better look at the basket. Overall, McGary was extremely impressive and he is on the verge of blowing up if he hasn’t already. The lefty’s flaws are correctable and easily outweighed by his size and talent.
I love imagining a 6'10" power forward leading the fast break, and now I don't have to, because he'll be doing it for Michigan and you can see him run the break in the highlights below. Also taking note of his precocious athletic talents was Eric Bossi of Rivals, who saw McGary at the NY2LA Summer Jam in July:
What a total animal this guy played like on Friday. First, the five-star big man broke Texas PRO in the first half with his ill-tempered length-of-the-court drives and rebounding, and he was able to rest himself for the championship after racking up 14 points and 16 boards. Then, looking as fresh as he would if he was playing his first game of the summer, he went out and dominated the paint in SYF's win over Dream Vision in the championship game. Bottom line, McGary is a competitor with a non-stop motor, great hands, great skill and even greater will.
ESPN's Paul Biancardi liked McGary's motor enough to deem it the best in the 2012 ESPN100, and also noted McGary's Novakian enthusiasm even when he's on the sideline:
It is difficult to find players who bring all-out effort and energy on a consistent basis, but McGary does it better than anyone. Not only does he bring energy to his own game, he gives it to his teammates. His motor never stops as he constantly works the backboard, runs the floor and dives on the floor for loose balls. His enthusiasm even carries over when he's on the bench as he cheers on his teammates and remains vocal. McGary has talent and physical tools, but his motor makes him special and will make him money one day.
Maybe the gritty grit grit stuff isn't coincidence, as McGary hails from Chesterton, Indiana, home of—you guessed it—Zack Novak, who hosted McGary on his official visit. McGary transferred after his junior season from Chesterton High School to Brewster Academy, a powerhouse school in New Hampshire, but I'm now strongly suspecting there's something in the water in Chesterton.
More scout drooling—plus a very interesting comparison—from Coast 2 Coast Recruiting:
When watching Mitch McGary play, it’s easy to envision a young David Lee. Whether he is effortlessly running the floor, shooting left-handed fadeaways, abusing the rim with powerful dunks, or blocking shots into next Wednesday, all punctuated by electric yells, it’s a beautiful sight to any basketball fan. The newly sculpted 6’10 250 pound power forward/center started tearing through the basketball world in the past three months at the NY2LA Swish ‘N Dish, The Adidas May Classic, The Pittsburgh Jam Fest, the Jayhawk Invitational, and most recently, the NBPA Top 100 camp.
I'm totally fine with the Lee comparison as long as it's related to offense—Lee was a McDonald's All-American in 2001 (and the slam dunk contest champ that year) who went to Florida and was drafted in the first round (30th overall) by the Knicks, and he became a 20-10 guy for them, but his lack of ability on the defensive end played a role in him getting shipped to basketball purgatory at Golden State last season. On the offensive end, Lee is a 6'9" PF/C with great athleticism for his size, a decent mid-range jumper, and he's an absolute demon on the boards.
Finally, I had to end with this quote by Scout's Brian Snow from today's timely Sam Webb article [emphasis mine]:
"To put it bluntly — (at Michigan) he'd be the starting center and the best player on the team the moment he walks on campus," Snow said emphatically. "I really don't see a scenario in which that isn't the case. He is probably the hardest playing kid in the country. There's absolutely no prima donna to him at all. He'll run through a wall for you, he'll dive on the floor. Then he is a pretty good athlete. He can really face the rim and handle the ball, especially against centers. He also scores down low, blocks shots, and he is one of the better rebounders in the country.
"We're talking about a kid that can do it all from the low post," said Daniels. "He can run, he has good hands, he plays hard and with energy, he rebounds, blocks shots, and he can score. Whatever school gets Mitch is getting a heck of a player and a major impact-type guy as soon as he sets foot on campus."
Dylan also posted UMHoops's final scouting impressions of McGary and several other scouting reports (a couple of which appear above) yesterday in anticipation of Mitch McGary Day. It's well worth a read, and since I got half these links from Dylan, you should feel obligated to click over and give his fantastic site a read, especially on a day like today.
McGary boasted six offers, and they're from a who's who of basketball powerhouses: Aside from Michigan, he had scholarship offers from Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Maryland, and North Carolina. I suspect that offer list would've been much larger had McGary not reclassified from a 2011 to a 2012 recruit—transferring from his hometown of Chesterton to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire in the process—and blowing up relatively late by basketball recruiting standards.
Dylan posted an extensive video archive with a solid ten videos. Lots of good stuff there, and here's one of my favorites:
Yes, he ole'd a defender with an around-the-back dribble on the break and finished with a two-handed dunk from halfway to the free throw line. That was not a hallucination, unless I am also hallucinating, which hopefully is not the case.
Also, obligatory video of McGary shattering a backboard and then revealing his incredible nickname, "White Thunder":
/BOOM Tractor Traylor'd (RIP)
PREDICTION BASED ON FLIMSY EVIDENCE
He's gonna start. I know, I'm going way out on a limb there. Here's what Michigan's lineup will likely look like for the 2012-13 season (McGary's freshman year), with the not-entirely-safe-but-certainly-not-crazy assumption that Tim Hardaway Jr. sticks around for his junior season:
PG: Trey Burke (backup: Carlton Brundidge)
SG: Tim Hardaway Jr. (Matt Vogrich/Nick Stauskas)
SF: Evan Smotrycz (Glenn Robinson III)
PF: Mitch McGary (Evan Smotrycz/Jon Horford)
C: Jordan Morgan (Jon Horford)
That's, well, a really good team. Big Ten contender, dangerous in the NCAA tournament good. And if you believe Brian Snow, McGary will be the best player on a team featuring a junior Tim Hardaway Jr.—you have permission to get hype, people. McGary should be contending for all-conference honors as soon as he steps on campus, and has the potential to do even more than that.
As for whether or not McGary will stick around beyond his freshman season, that's certainly in question. From Nick Baumgardner at AnnArbor.com:
[McGary] would provide instant impact. For how long? That remains unclear. Plenty of national analysts have pegged McGary as a potential "one-and-done" prospect, though [ESPN recruiting analyst Dave] Telep said, "I don't think it's unrealistic to say he could be (in college) for two years."
I'll take two years of McGary in a heartbeat, obviously. It's easy to accept these things if a player is likely going to have a huge impact right away, especially when it means Michigan will likely be on the radar of future top recruits in a way they haven't been in over a decade.
UPSHOT FOR THE REST OF THE CLASS
McGary joins forward Glenn Robinson III (Rivals's #34 overall prospect) and guard Nick Stauskas (#79) in the class of 2012, and that will wrap things up with a dramatic flourish for that year's group. The Wolverines are already full for the class of 2013, with four-stars Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin and three-stars Mark Donnal and Austin Hatch (although Hatch's status as a 2013 recruit is in doubt after the tragic plane crash—he will likely reclassify as a 2014 player if he can continue his basketball career) already in the fold.
Yes, Michigan is already moving on to the 2014 class. Beilein Uber Alles. Really, the job the Beilein and assistant Bacari Alexander did with this recruitment was phenomenal by all accounts. I had to pull another quote from Sam Webb's article, because it should get you extremely excited for the future of the program (as if you're not already):
"What I really like about Michigan is its coaching staff, especially Bacari Alexander," said McGary in his ESPN blog Wednesday. "He's probably one of the most underrated coaches in the country. He really knows what he's doing with the big men. I just like that I can trust the coaches there, and I actually like that they're not on the biggest stage yet. That gives me the opportunity to go there and make a huge impact from day one."
Cue the Muppets, if Brian hasn't posted them already.
Michigan basketball, on the way back. Go Blue!!!
Its been a while since I've been this excited about the future of UM hoops! Can't wait to see what Coach B will do with this team over the next few years!
Great news for the Wolverines!!
I guess it's a big deal since I keep getting error reports from Chrome. I think a few people are logged in to MgoBlog.
I love that beer. But yeah, I keep getting errors connecting and posting right now.
What'd I tell ya
Ace on popping your "Hello" virginity
and of course Mitch for making a great decision!
Why thank you, though technically I've done one "Hello" post—Kenny Allen, though a five-star big man feels a little different than a preferred walk-on punter. No offense to Kenny, of course.
Incredible. You just replicated my first draft, in full.
I don't believe, what I just saw!
Yeaaaaaaa drink like 10 beers right now!
I love that they did it right at 5pm and we didn't have to wait all show. This is a program changing "get."
Can someone at Crisler please make room for at least 1 B1G Banner...
Also: Awwwww yeah, today's looking up already. Mmm, dopamine.
Aren't you one of the board's still-in-college posters? What the h*ll are you doing with C+C Music Factory...on cassette?!? You young whippersnappers keep your hands off my generation's music, d@mmit!
Gen-X music got co-opted by little brothers. I got a whole ton of cassettes actually, from my older siblings. Rammstein, mix tapes, Nirvana, Rush, Tool, it's like a giant time capsule from the '90s. Much easier on the ears than Top 40 radio.
This was expected. Good choice Mitch
And Billy Hunter:
Please keep screwing up the NBA so Mitch can stay more than a year. Much obliged.
Any chance the NBA's next labor deal will have any effect on the one and done?
I don't think the labor deal will have as much of an effect on potential one-and-dones as what already happened because people saw the lockout coming—a lot of players who could've entered last year's draft decided to stay in school. It should be a loaded draft next year with a lot of underclassmen coming out, and that could affect McGary's decision if he's not a lock for the lottery because of the depth of the class.
I think, but could be wrong, that he's asking if the new CBA will have a different rules concerning early entry to the draft.
Ah, I'm an idiot. And in this case, entirely uninformed—not sure if the one-and-done issue is on the table or not in terms of the negotiations. I tend to wait until the playoffs to really get into the NBA unless the Pistons are good (not so much right now).
I believe that since McGary is a prep school kid - already one year removed from his senior season of high school - even if they went to a "2 and done" system he'd be eligible for the NBA Draft after his freshman season at Michigan.
Its Mitchapalooza time as a friend texted me so...
WE'RE GOING STREAKING!!!
and now we just need a speaker city sponsered Snoop Dogg Concert
The University of Mi(t)chigan
I only had to get from Mason Hall to the Union and I still missed it!
Oh well! Go Blue!
What a feeling...
My reaction circa 5:04pm
Welcome to Michigan "White Thunder". Yes we're a little weird and we celebrate with puppets from a children's show but we'll love you forever.
First of all, mad props to the Michigan coaches and the whole team actually, as well as to Glenn Robinson Jr. They all played a key part in bringing in one of the best basketball recruits of all time into the Michigan family. I hope Tim stays around for another year and the rest of the guys continue to develop and progress like they have been under Beilein's tutelage. If McGary's talents really transfer to the college level, and if Tim sticks around and continues to get better and better, and if Big Dawg Jr. comes in and develops well, etc. etc......Final Four here we come =)
to ESPN films, Jalen Rose, and all those who participated in the "The Fab5" documentary.
And we'd be remiss if we didn't give a special thanks to Brady Hoke's golden poop, which can't be overlooked in everything it's done since he and it have come to town.
Good decision for Mitch as he wont have to compete for playing time, our offense fits well with his style of play, and he'll be playing under a staff that has proven what they can do for player development . Also, good to see that he'll have close friends playing by his side, so we know that this class will already have great chemistry from the start! Can wait to see him play in maize and blue!!!
yeah I said it, wanna fight about it?
Anybody else a little worried that he might not sign his LOI during the early signing period?
I kind of got that feeling listening to him.
/pauses celebration momentarily to consider cautious optimism
Welcome Mitch!!! Do you happen to be best friends with a certain 5* QB from Indiana? Little help here?