The Curious Case of Michigan Wolverines' Mitch McGary

By Joseph Nardone
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY

How does 7.5 points and 6.3 boards a game while shooting less than 45 percent from the charity-stripe project to the NBA? Apparently as a lottery pick, I guess.

That is what Michigan Wolverines, center, Mich McGary did last season. Somehow — through magic I suppose — a slew of good games in the NCAA Tournament convinced everyone and their mother that McGary was the real deal — which may not be completely wrong, but it would also be ignoring a season’s worth of facts in favor of a handful of games on a bigger stage.

McGary opted to come back to school rather than cash-in on his immediate fortunes. While I applaud his desire to go back to school (I am in firm belief that a kid can make no wrong decision as far as the draft goes as long as it is his), I question whether or not this can be a deathblow to the perception of his talents.

The spotlight will be on him all season long now. While everyone was paying attention to his teammates last season until McGary went bonkers in a few games, he was busy playing mediocre basketball during the regular season.

Which brings us to an obvious question: now that he has a full season ahead of him with a spotlight squarely thrust upon his face, will his game end up being exposed as a player who scores less than eight points a game, or will he show that he is more of the player he was in a few games in the big dance?

Mind you, that will be done with defenses gameplanning against him. Which is something no other team did to him last season.

The odd thing about McGary’s draft-expert-love was also the fact that they ignored his inability to do anything worthwhile against solid competition. Sure, the string of games he had in the NCAA Tournament were swell and all, but it was against post players who can’t even sniff the the rears of the last big man on an NBA bench. As soon as he played someone who is a NBA-level of talent, he withered (see National Title game box-score).

I am not trying to say McGary won’t end up being deserving of his first-round pick projection or that he was a bad player. In fact, McGary already possesses skills that lend him to being the second big guy off the bench for an NBA team. But let us not kid ourselves, if you think he is who he was during  a stretch of a few games in the NCAA Tournament, well, then you ignored 35 other games worth of evidence that says he was only okay at best.

Maybe I am wrong, or maybe McGary will be exposed this season. Regardless of what you or I think, time will tell as a great mental-headcase basketball player once said, balls don’t lie!


Joe is a Senior Writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JosephNardone

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