Mitch McGary squatted into a textbook defensive stance -- feet spread, knees bent, arm extended toward the dribbler. Normally, McGary would not have had a hard time locking down his opponent from that position, but on this occasion he just happened to be facing the best player on the planet. It only took LeBron James one power dribble to his left to separate from McGary, rise up and drill an easy 15-foot jumper. As McGary glanced over his shoulder to see the ball go in, he could only shake his head.
"I tried to do my best out there," he said later with a smile.
The sequence could have been from one of McGary's dreams, but it happened for real last week at the LeBron James Skills Academy, the Nike-sponsored gemstone of the summer hoops circuit. McGary was one of 23 college players invited to work out in front of dozens of NBA scouts at the Cashman Center in Las Vegas. Unlike three years ago, when McGary was one of the hundred-plus high school players at the camp, The King knew exactly who he was this time.
(Imagine the twinge of glee McGary felt when, during a defensive switch, LeBron shouted, "I got Mitch!") James' cameo at the college workout happened to occur on the three-year anniversary of his ill-conceived announcement that he was signing with the Miami Heat. McGary had his own Decision to make last April, and if it received a fraction of the attention that the King's got, it also demonstrated a lot more maturity and judgment.
...says Denzel Valentine of Big Ten Tourney favorite MSU, which is 5-7 in its last 12 games. Cumong, man.